SOCASA | As Restrictions on Painkillers Grow, More Turn to Heroin
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As Restrictions on Painkillers Grow, More Turn to Heroin

Once again, research indicates that as prescription painkillers become harder to get, users appear to be switching to heroin. According to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) on Trends in Heroin Use in the United States from 2002 to 2013, anecdotal information suggests that people abusing pain relievers, which provide a similar high, are switching to heroin because of decreased access to pain relievers and the relative cost of heroin. The report also finds that mortality estimates from 2000 to 2013 indicate there has been an increase in the number of drug-poisoning deaths involving heroin. Reasons for increases in drug-poisoning deaths include the availability of high purity heroin causing users to accidentally overdose. Other reasons include some users switching from prescription opioids, which have a known dosage amount and chemical composition, to heroin that often contains varying purities, dosage amounts and unknown adulterants used to cut costs and increase potency. The report finds that the heroin problem in the United States has not improved in the past decade. The findings in this report suggest a continuing need for prevention messages and heroin prevention and treatment programs.

Read the full report.