Dr. Sanjay Guptah at CNN reported that today’s typical heroin addict starts using at age 23 and is more likely to live in the affluent suburbs and was likely unwittingly led to heroin through painkillers prescribed by his or her doctor.
Last year, the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte spent time trying to better understand the patients who were coming into detox for heroin. What they found were all types of professionals including police offices, lawyers, nurses and ministers who came from some of the best neighborhoods in the area.
Most of them shared a common story: “We used to take pills, but now we inject heroin.”
The Face of the Heroin Addict has Changed
Back in the 1960’s heroin was used primarily by young men from low income households, and they usually started at about 16 years of age. Now the heroin addict is male or female, 23 years old and lives in middle class America. Most of the new heroin addicts were former pain med addicts. The reason for the change in a users drug of choice is simple economics. Both opiate pain meds, such as Oxycontin (sometimes called hillbilly heroin) and heroin are derived from the poppy plant, but heroin cost far less.
Opiate pain pills street cost is about 1 dollar per milligram. Sixty dollars worth of pain medication will buy an addict 10 times more heroin. According to government statistics, the number of people who reported using heroin in the past 12 months has nearly doubled since 2007 to 620,000. 80% of the world’s pain pills are consumed in the United States, which has just 5% of the world’s population. As a result, accidental prescription drug overdose is now the leading cause of acute preventable death for Americans. Someone dies of a pain med overdose every 19 minutes. That is more deaths than from car crashes.
Opiate Addiction Treatment
Balboa Horizons has been treating young adults addicted to opiates for over 10 years. Our expert clinical staff is knowledgeable in the treatment of pain medication and heroin addiction.