Get Addiction Help for Prescription Drug Abuse – Before It Leads to Heroin Addiction
An investigation in New Jersey is evaluating what causes young people to move from one drug to another – specifically, the relationship between prescription drugs and heroin. The investigation was motivated in part by a rise in both heroin and prescription drug deaths in the area. They’re hoping their findings will prevent these deaths and also help motivate people to get addiction help before they really get into trouble.
What they found is that young people often get their start getting drugs from their parents – OxyContin, Percoset and Xanax are among the major problems. Parents have them in their medicine cabinets. One in five young people experiment with those drugs, and then they want more.
Most young people are not going to have easy access to those pills in the medicine cabinet forever. Their parents sometimes find out they’re using them, or they’ve been taking so many they’re afraid their parents will find out, or their parents may have been taking OxyContin or Percoset for an injury or after surgery, and don’t need them anymore so they’re no longer filling prescriptions.
For the kid, the source dries up. But he or she still wants them, or, by this time, may even be at the point of needing some form of addiction help services. In either case, they go looking elsewhere for the same effect they got from the drugs in the medicine cabinet.
They may go to a doctor themselves and fake symptoms to get their own prescription. They could go to one of the many so-called ‘pain management clinics’ that are basically unethical pill mills just out to make money Or they may turn to drug dealers on the street. Prescription painkillers like OxyContin are readily available – their abuse is now epidemic and the street pushers are really taking advantage of it.
But those prescription pills, when bought on the street rather than being covered by some medical plan, can also cost as much as $80 each – not particularly affordable for a young person. At this point, they often turn to heroin.
Heroin used to be expensive. It’s not anymore. You can get a hit for $5. They might start off using one hit every few days, then go to one a day, then to two or three a day. The more they take, the more they need to get the same effect as the first time they took it. But, even when things have escalated to two or three hits a day, they’re still only spending about as much in a week for heroin as it would have cost them for one pill if they’d stuck with OxyContin. It’s not a small amount of money, but it’s definitely more attainable than $80 per pill.
Some kids will also turn to drug dealing or other crimes to make the money they need for the drugs. Now they’re not just an addict, they’re also a criminal.
Almost always, they have little education on OxyContin or other prescription drugs, or heroin. They often think OxyContin is safe because doctors prescribe it – if only they knew how many people are suffering from OxyContin addiction, even those who have had it prescribed by their doctor – and chances are they’re not educated on heroin at all.
Even those who are knowledgeable about these drugs get addicted, and some overdose and die.
Obviously, one of the major actions that should be taken by parents to avoid this situation is to either not have any prescription medications in their home or to have them hidden and under lock and key so their kids won’t be tempted to take them.
After all – the pills are making you feel better. Kids want to feel better, too. Young people are not as problem-free as you might think or hope. Their problems are different than ours, but they are real nevertheless.
Remember – the above investigation was motivated by deaths, for both prescription drugs and heroin. If that’s not a chance you want to take, get your pills locked up. And if you think your kids are taking prescription drugs, it’s important to get them into drug rehab fast – before it becomes a disaster. They might not die, but they could definitely ruin their lives, and yours.