The U.S. currently faces an unprecedented epidemic of opioid addiction – painkillers, heroin and other drugs made from the same base chemical – that is dramatically impacting Collier County. Heroin is an opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the poppy plant. Prescription opioid pain medications such as Oxycontin and Vicodin have effects similar to heroin when taken in ways other than prescribed. They are currently among the most commonly abused drugs in the United States.
As much as 80% of people who inject heroin report abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin. They also report that crushing the pills to snort or inject the powder provided their initiation into these methods of drug administration.
Experts agree that the current spike of opioid abuse can be traced to the increased prescription rates for painkillers by well-meaning physicians. Prolonged use leads to dependence and, once hooked, increasing amounts of drugs are required to prevent feelings of withdrawal. Addiction to painkillers frequently leads to heroin addiction because the black market drug is cheaper and easier to get than black market painkillers.
Since 2001, overdoses from heroin and opioid painkillers combined have more than tripled.
The good news is that treatment options such as detox, residential treatment and medication-assisted treatment designed to fight opioid addiction are increasingly sophisticated and effective. For more information, contact Admissions or call 239-354-1428.