USA Today published Heroin is Back , a detailed story from Charlotte, NC to Maine to California, all seeing heroin spreading to the suburbs. Concerned about a rise in heroin dependence in the detox ward, Carolinas Medical Center wanted to dig deeper in the data and found that their heroin patients came from the five best neighborhoods in the Charlotte area.
Many Americans are becoming addicted to prescription painkillers and as they find it more difficult to either get the prescriptions or find them illegally on the street, they are turning to heroin to feed their habit which is causing great concern for the medical community. Moving from a prescription drug to a street drug imposes many risks for the user since street drugs can be of unknown quality or dose and heroin specifically requires needle use.
“As bad as oxycodone is, heroin is worse,” Publicker said. “It’s worse because here in Maine, it’s injected. We’re talking about a novice population of drug injectors who are not educated about needle use.”
Plain and simple, heroin is cheaper too. According to DEA Special Agent Amy Roderick in San Diego, one oxy pill may sell for $100 a pill while you can buy heroin for $80 a gram.
“You’re just getting more bang for the buck,” Roderick said. “Once you’re addicted to an opiate, you’re addicted. If you can’t get what you want, you’ll take what you can get,”
Across the country this epidemic is playing out, it started with prescription painkillers being loosely prescribed and creating addicts. Then as slightly more regulation was brought in to curb the amount of the painkillers prescribed or to prevent the way they could be used, the addict was already hooked. So while some areas of the country are seeing less prescription painkiller use, there are many areas seeing increased heroin addictions or heroin overdoses.