How to Stop Heroin Abuse

Substance abuse has been on the rise in America for the past six years. It is now the leading cause of death in the United States. That means that more people die as a result of an overdose than people in car accidents or injuries. The number of people who have overdosed has quadrupled since 2006, and many of these cases affect middle-class women. Typical culprits for overdoses are from heroin abuse and abuse of prescription pain medications, which usually contain opium, the root extract of heroin.

Heroin causes Death

There were approximately 120 deaths a day in 2013, and more than half of these deaths were overdosed from heroin or opioids. Substance abuse has become so pervasive in our society that you are likely to have somebody close to you struggling with it. These people can be our family members, coworkers, neighbors, or even or best friends. More often than not, you don’t even know if someone is a functional addict.

Heroin Statistics

There are an estimated 600,000 heroin abusers in the United States, and the CDC believe that number is actually a gross under-representation of a huge problem. The amount of heroin that enters the United States from Mexico is astounding. From 2008 to 2012, the percentage of heroin-related drug busts along the border increased by 232%. In 2015, the DEA seized 620 pounds of heroin.

Heroin and Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs have largely been accused of being the gateway drug that leads to heroin abuse. Perhaps this is why such a spike in drug abuse among the middle class, who had access to pharmaceuticals before the government clamped down on unnecessary prescriptions.

Heroin Abuse and the society

Heroin Addiction

Used to, when you thought about a heroin addict, you would draw the mental image of a homeless person sitting on Skid Row. Nowadays, that is further from the truth. Heroin abuse has spread to middle-class, suburban neighborhoods at an alarming rate. The DEA has noticed an emergence of small street gangs across suburban cities, who are connected to drug cartels south of the border.

Heroin and the Government

The heroin epidemic has caught the attention of the Obama administration, which has tasked experts with coming up with a solution to combat this problem. One idea is to equip firefighters, police officers, and paramedics with naloxone, a drug designed to reverse a heroin overdose. These people are often the first to respond on to an emergency call, and could potentially save the lives of people overdosing. The FDA is also looking into injectable doses of naloxone that family members and caretakers can purchase at pharmacies.

Conclusion

Overall, the problem is going to require a paradigm shift in how the government handles addicts. Rather than seeing addicts as criminals who are morally bankrupt, they need to be handled as people suffering from an addiction.

Senator Ed Markey

has proposed a bill that requires doctors to undergo a training program before they are allowed to prescribe opioids. This program will also educate doctors on other treatment programs, such as physical therapy, to help their patients manage pain. While this is a step in the right direction, it does not address the problem with people who are already battling addiction. The government is currently looking at a variety of options to help reduce substance abuse. As election time nears, it is certain that this will be a popularly debated subject.