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The Opiate and Heroin Epidemic in America


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Over the past three years, the number of fatal heroin overdoses in America has tripled to more than 8,250 deaths per year. Approximately twice as many people die each year from overdoses on prescription opiate painkillers. Drug overdoses, mostly from opiates and heroin, are responsible for more deaths each year in America than traffic fatalities. I think it is clear that the increased use of heroin in America is directly linked to the increased use of prescription opiates over the past decade, as many prescription opiate users eventually turn to heroin for a cheaper, stronger, and more accessible high on a molecularly similar compound.

This issue is really close to me on a personal level. My brother struggled with opiate addiction for years after being placed on opiate painkillers following a reconstructive knee surgery. Thankfully, he has been clean for over two years now, and he got out before moving on to heroin. However, the losses that he has suffered from opiate and heroin addiction over the past few years are absolutely devastating. About five years ago, his best friend died from an overdose of opiate prescription painkillers. A few months ago, another one of his good friends died from a heroin overdose. And two weeks ago, his current best friend died from a heroin overdose during a relapse after months of being clean. My brother had been talking to him everyday and trying to help and encourage him to embrace a better life without opiates and heroin. It was tragic to see how far he had come in his recovery, only to die from a momentary relapse.

Is there an answer to help alleviate the opiate and heroin epidemic in America today? Better access to drug treatment facilities? Increased regulation of the pharmaceutical opiate industry? Increased distribution and use of naloxone, a drug that can immediately revive someone from a heroin overdose? Perhaps the legalization of marijuana, as states with legalized marijuana have reported a significant decease in opiate deaths as people choose marijuana over opiate painkillers to treat pain? Is there anything that we can do to prevent more deaths from opiate and heroin addiction?

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I blame the medical industry. And make no mistake, it's an industry just like steel, cars, and insurance. They push pills and subbies and don't give one #### about the consequences. Pain management my ###.

Edited by Sabertooth
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Wouldn't a lot of painkiller deaths be suicides and not accidental overdoses?

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Wouldn't a lot of painkiller deaths be suicides and not accidental overdoses?

I'm not sure if those overdose numbers tease out intentional suicides or not, but the CDC reported that nearly 80% of overdose deaths were unintentional in 2010.

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I had an instructor in high school that said that all drugs are okay if used for the appropriate purpose. The issue is that some people choose to use them not to reduce pain so that they could function, but rather to feel better/get high. I think individuals have a responsibility to take what they need, not max out the scrip and finish off their plate. I think it is a mindset in society that these drugs can/should be used to improve their day even when the pain could be dealt with as an inconvenience.

Not sure on moving on to heroin from painkillers. I don't know anyone that ever did and I don't think I know anyone that actually went through an official treatment thing.

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I had an instructor in high school that said that all drugs are okay if used for the appropriate purpose. The issue is that some people choose to use them not to reduce pain so that they could function, but rather to feel better/get high. I think individuals have a responsibility to take what they need, not max out the scrip and finish off their plate. I think it is a mindset in society that these drugs can/should be used to improve their day even when the pain could be dealt with as an inconvenience.

Not sure on moving on to heroin from painkillers. I don't know anyone that ever did and I don't think I know anyone that actually went through an official treatment thing.

I'm not sure if it is as simple as that when dealing with substances that are as physically addictive as opiate painkillers. When I was back in Georgia for our friend's funeral last month, I stopped by one of my other friend's parents house to visit for bit. My friend's mom is one of the nicest, most innocent, do-gooder Christians that I have ever met in my life. I am certain that she has never done an illegal drug in her life. But she recently had hip surgery and was prescribed opiate painkillers. When we were talking about my friend's death, she admitted that she herself had been struggling with opiate painkiller addiction since her hip surgery complete with pill-seeking behavior and withdrawal symptoms. I was shocked because I felt like if it could happen to her, then it could happen to just about anyone. It is not always opiate abuse for recreational purposes that leads to addiction.

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this was all set in motion by the pill mills, primarily in florida, for years up until just recently. heavy, heavy population of doctors writing scripts to any and all comers and maxing them at the legal max of 240 30mg oxy's per person per month. people were coming in from all over the country in droves and filling up bags of the stuff and taking them home, dumping and turning around and coming back to do it again. it was ridiculous how easy and "legal" it was. so any and everybody whoever got a taste of hydro/perc/oxy for legit purposes and then decided they wanted more were finding it much easier to do so. then once that ball gets rolling there's not much stopping aside from lack of availability. it became very available. then they clamped down on florida they werent as available. that's when they learn that heroin is BETTER for a fraction of the price? "f it, im sick, ill give it a shot." /the end

its not how i came to it, but this has become common place.

Edited by Apple Jack
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this was all set in motion by the pill mills, primarily in florida, for years up until just recently. heavy, heavy population of doctors writing scripts to any and all comers and maxing them at the legal max of 240 30mg oxy's per person per month. people were coming in from all over the country in droves and filling up bags of the stuff and taking them home, dumping and turning around and coming back to do it again. it was ridiculous how easy and "legal" it was. so any and everybody whoever got a taste of hydro/perc/oxy for legit purposes and then decided they wanted more were finding it much easier to do so. then once that ball gets rolling there's not much stopping aside from lack of availability. it became very available. then they clamped down on florida they werent as available. that's when they learn that heroin is BETTER for a fraction of the price? "f it, im sick, ill give it a shot." /the end

its not how i came to it, but this has become common place.

Yeah, that is my understanding of the revival of heroin as well. The crackdown on some of the prescription pill mills resulted in making opiates more expensive and more difficult to obtain, which in turn drove people to the alternative of heroin to get a better yet similar high for a cheaper price.

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It's also expensive to break the habit. One of my best friend's fiancee was a hardcore pill addict, now trying to get clean. She goes to a clinic downtown and they charge $100 per week for the oxy-substitute (forget the name) that she takes to try to come down off of it. If she hadn't met my buddy (who is financing it) there's no way she'd fork over the ~430 to try to get clean.

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I blame the medical industry. And make no mistake, it's an industry just like steel, cars, and insurance. They push pills and subbies and don't give one #### about the consequences. Pain management my ###.

What percentage of scripts do you think lead to addiction?

13.6654%

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I blame the medical industry. And make no mistake, it's an industry just like steel, cars, and insurance. They push pills and subbies and don't give one #### about the consequences. Pain management my ###.

What percentage of scripts do you think lead to addiction?

13.6654%

I disagree. I put it more in the 13.7 range.

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It's also expensive to break the habit. One of my best friend's fiancee was a hardcore pill addict, now trying to get clean. She goes to a clinic downtown and they charge $100 per week for the oxy-substitute (forget the name) that she takes to try to come down off of it. If she hadn't met my buddy (who is financing it) there's no way she'd fork over the ~430 to try to get clean.

Yeah, that is a great point. It is prohibitively expensive for a vast percentage of addicts to attend in-patient rehab. And I'm sure it is difficult for many to afford out-patient treatment with drugs such as Suboxone that help alleviate withdrawal symptoms. I'm sure the financial barrier to effective opiate/heroin recovery tools helps keep many people in the cycle of addiction.

In 2000, Portugal, which had perhaps the worst heroin problem in Europe at the time, decriminalized drugs and shifted money from incarcerating drug users to providing treatment. Drug addicts can receive free drug rehab treatment that is subsidized by the state. The British Journal of Criminology found that intravenous drug use in Portugal has dropped by 50% since decriminalization and increased drug treatment options were made available in 2001.

Edited by Buckfast 1
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It's also expensive to break the habit. One of my best friend's fiancee was a hardcore pill addict, now trying to get clean. She goes to a clinic downtown and they charge $100 per week for the oxy-substitute (forget the name) that she takes to try to come down off of it. If she hadn't met my buddy (who is financing it) there's no way she'd fork over the ~430 to try to get clean.

that's way too much money. you can google around and find doctor's who will write the subutex/suboxone scripts for $100 a visit or something like that. its extremely potent medication and you have to be very careful not to stay on it or coming off that takes months. no exaggeration. the detox off subs is excruciatingly long.

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this was all set in motion by the pill mills, primarily in florida, for years up until just recently. heavy, heavy population of doctors writing scripts to any and all comers and maxing them at the legal max of 240 30mg oxy's per person per month. people were coming in from all over the country in droves and filling up bags of the stuff and taking them home, dumping and turning around and coming back to do it again. it was ridiculous how easy and "legal" it was. so any and everybody whoever got a taste of hydro/perc/oxy for legit purposes and then decided they wanted more were finding it much easier to do so. then once that ball gets rolling there's not much stopping aside from lack of availability. it became very available. then they clamped down on florida they werent as available. that's when they learn that heroin is BETTER for a fraction of the price? "f it, im sick, ill give it a shot." /the end

its not how i came to it, but this has become common place.

This is exactly it as I understand / have seen. Oxy was everywhere cheap, then not so cheap, then gone. Then you have addicts looking to get a fix and the illicit market will ALWAYS fill a need. A VERY good buddy went through exactly this... Xanax > Oxy > Snorting Heroin > Shooting Heroin > Junkie > OD > Homeless > Rehab > Jail. Got a 2nd and 3rd chance legally.... finally got his #### together and seems to finally "get it". That said, it was a long journey.

It's also expensive to break the habit. One of my best friend's fiancee was a hardcore pill addict, now trying to get clean. She goes to a clinic downtown and they charge $100 per week for the oxy-substitute (forget the name) that she takes to try to come down off of it. If she hadn't met my buddy (who is financing it) there's no way she'd fork over the ~430 to try to get clean.

At $1/mg or more, Oxy isn't exactly cheap.... $100/wk is nothing when your habit is $100-200/day.

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Have a friend who is a cop in our upper middle class hometown. He was telling me that the number of otherwise normal high school kids who are doing heroin will shock you. As someone mentioned upthread, it starts with paying good money that came from their parents for Oxy and other painkillers, and then when that dries up, they switch to the much cheaper high.

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It's also expensive to break the habit. One of my best friend's fiancee was a hardcore pill addict, now trying to get clean. She goes to a clinic downtown and they charge $100 per week for the oxy-substitute (forget the name) that she takes to try to come down off of it. If she hadn't met my buddy (who is financing it) there's no way she'd fork over the ~430 to try to get clean.

that's way too much money. you can google around and find doctor's who will write the subutex/suboxone scripts for $100 a visit or something like that. its extremely potent medication and you have to be very careful not to stay on it or coming off that takes months. no exaggeration. the detox off subs is excruciatingly long.

Subbies.

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Have a friend who is a cop in our upper middle class hometown. He was telling me that the number of otherwise normal high school kids who are doing heroin will shock you. As someone mentioned upthread, it starts with paying good money that came from their parents for Oxy and other painkillers, and then when that dries up, they switch to the much cheaper high.

All of the deaths that I mentioned in the OP occurred in an upper middle class suburb of Atlanta. I think heroin has followed opiate prescription pain pills into demographics of society that were not traditionally known for heroin use.

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It's also expensive to break the habit. One of my best friend's fiancee was a hardcore pill addict, now trying to get clean. She goes to a clinic downtown and they charge $100 per week for the oxy-substitute (forget the name) that she takes to try to come down off of it. If she hadn't met my buddy (who is financing it) there's no way she'd fork over the ~430 to try to get clean.

Yeah, that is a great point. It is prohibitively expensive for a vast percentage of addicts to attend in-patient rehab. And I'm sure it is difficult for many to afford out-patient treatment with drugs such as Suboxone that help alleviate withdrawal symptoms. I'm sure the financial barrier to effective opiate/heroin recovery tools helps keep many people in the cycle of addiction.

In 2000, Portugal, which had perhaps the worst heroin problem in Europe at the time, decriminalized drugs and shifted money from incarcerating drug users to providing treatment. Drug addicts can receive free drug rehab treatment that is subsidized by the state. The British Journal of Criminology found that intravenous drug use in Portugal has dropped by 50% since decriminalization and increased drug treatment options were made available in 2001.

Yup, decriminalize all drugs and put money towards treatment. Shocking that we haven't done it yet after so many years of failure under our current policy.

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It's also expensive to break the habit. One of my best friend's fiancee was a hardcore pill addict, now trying to get clean. She goes to a clinic downtown and they charge $100 per week for the oxy-substitute (forget the name) that she takes to try to come down off of it. If she hadn't met my buddy (who is financing it) there's no way she'd fork over the ~430 to try to get clean.

that's way too much money. you can google around and find doctor's who will write the subutex/suboxone scripts for $100 a visit or something like that. its extremely potent medication and you have to be very careful not to stay on it or coming off that takes months. no exaggeration. the detox off subs is excruciatingly long.

Subbies.
In fact, just use the subs for withdrawal and if you absolutely must keep taking something just do kratom which is legal and far less troublesome. Edited by Apple Jack
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I bet legalized pot would help this issue.

Agreed.

I previously posted in the marijuana legalization thread about the potential use of marijuana to treat opiate addiction:

Apparently, marijuana has been used as a treatment for opiate addiction since at least the late 1800's. Ancient Indian texts and Ayurvedic literature reference the use of marijuana to treat other substance abuse disorders. Surveys of medical marijuana patients have shown that a significant number of patients are using marijuana as an "exit drug" or a substitute to harder drugs that they were previously addicted to. Recent scientific studies have shown that marijuana provides effective relief for opiate and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association last year found that states with legal medical marijuana had 25% less deaths from opiate and heroin overdoses compared to states without legal medical marijuana.

Here is another article from the Daily Beast that discusses whether marijuana is the secret to beating opiate addiction.

Edited by Buckfast 1
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It's also expensive to break the habit. One of my best friend's fiancee was a hardcore pill addict, now trying to get clean. She goes to a clinic downtown and they charge $100 per week for the oxy-substitute (forget the name) that she takes to try to come down off of it. If she hadn't met my buddy (who is financing it) there's no way she'd fork over the ~430 to try to get clean.

that's way too much money. you can google around and find doctor's who will write the subutex/suboxone scripts for $100 a visit or something like that. its extremely potent medication and you have to be very careful not to stay on it or coming off that takes months. no exaggeration. the detox off subs is excruciatingly long.

I'm not sure of too many specifics, all I know is she has to go downtown everyday to the clinic and they give her the pill for the day. She sometimes has to see a counselor, sometimes gets tested and sometimes just gets the pill and leaves.

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It's also expensive to break the habit. One of my best friend's fiancee was a hardcore pill addict, now trying to get clean. She goes to a clinic downtown and they charge $100 per week for the oxy-substitute (forget the name) that she takes to try to come down off of it. If she hadn't met my buddy (who is financing it) there's no way she'd fork over the ~430 to try to get clean.

Yeah, that is a great point. It is prohibitively expensive for a vast percentage of addicts to attend in-patient rehab. And I'm sure it is difficult for many to afford out-patient treatment with drugs such as Suboxone that help alleviate withdrawal symptoms. I'm sure the financial barrier to effective opiate/heroin recovery tools helps keep many people in the cycle of addiction.

In 2000, Portugal, which had perhaps the worst heroin problem in Europe at the time, decriminalized drugs and shifted money from incarcerating drug users to providing treatment. Drug addicts can receive free drug rehab treatment that is subsidized by the state. The British Journal of Criminology found that intravenous drug use in Portugal has dropped by 50% since decriminalization and increased drug treatment options were made available in 2001.

Yup, decriminalize all drugs and put money towards treatment. Shocking that we haven't done it yet after so many years of failure under our current policy.

Too many people making money off the current system.

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I'm fortunate that I'm so frugal and I don't know any local dirtbags who sell. Percocets are a freaking amazing high. Easy to see how opiates get their hooks into so many people.

Try snorting an Oxy. Probably the highest I've ever been in my life. Total contentment. Nothing mattered but lying in my bed and vegging out.

But.... I know way too many people who have had their lives turned upside down from opiates (grew up in the Catskills, huge heroin problem there). I'll stick to my beer and shrubs.

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People are stupid. - The immediate and long-term effects of cathinones can rival some of the strongest crystal meth and cocaine. Yeah just what I want to put in my body.

You could pay me enough to try #### like that and I smoked weed for about 6 years back in the late 70's early 80s. Had no interest in taking it any further. Love the weed high. That's it.

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It's a prescription drug problem more than a heroin problem. Young people aren't out searching for heroin. They're getting hooked on Oxy's and it's basically over from there.

Two people I knew personally from high school, ages 31 and 36, overdosed on heroin within a week of each other a month ago. Middle class, good upbringing, started by taking Oxy's.

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It's a prescription drug problem more than a heroin problem. Young people aren't out searching for heroin. They're getting hooked on Oxy's and it's basically over from there.

Two people I knew personally from high school, ages 31 and 36, overdosed on heroin within a week of each other a month ago. Middle class, good upbringing, started by taking Oxy's.

Disagree. Heroin is the popular drug right now among the young, it's not all because of Oxy. It's scary really. I do know a vet that came back with an injury that they gave him Oxy for, he turned to Heroin, that's another way it happens.

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It's a prescription drug problem more than a heroin problem. Young people aren't out searching for heroin. They're getting hooked on Oxy's and it's basically over from there.

Two people I knew personally from high school, ages 31 and 36, overdosed on heroin within a week of each other a month ago. Middle class, good upbringing, started by taking Oxy's.

Disagree. Heroin is the popular drug right now among the young, it's not all because of Oxy. It's scary really. I do know a vet that came back with an injury that they gave him Oxy for, he turned to Heroin, that's another way it happens.

How do you think heroin becomes popular?

Do you think young people, middle and upper class kids, are just jumping right into heroin?

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It's a prescription drug problem more than a heroin problem. Young people aren't out searching for heroin. They're getting hooked on Oxy's and it's basically over from there.

Two people I knew personally from high school, ages 31 and 36, overdosed on heroin within a week of each other a month ago. Middle class, good upbringing, started by taking Oxy's.

Disagree. Heroin is the popular drug right now among the young, it's not all because of Oxy. It's scary really. I do know a vet that came back with an injury that they gave him Oxy for, he turned to Heroin, that's another way it happens.

How do you think heroin becomes popular?

Do you think young people, middle and upper class kids, are just jumping right into heroin?

some, yes. if somebody thinks they are invincible and wants the biggest thrill there is, they will end up at heroin. its how i ended up there. its how some other people i know ended up there.

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It's a prescription drug problem more than a heroin problem. Young people aren't out searching for heroin. They're getting hooked on Oxy's and it's basically over from there.

Two people I knew personally from high school, ages 31 and 36, overdosed on heroin within a week of each other a month ago. Middle class, good upbringing, started by taking Oxy's.

Disagree. Heroin is the popular drug right now among the young, it's not all because of Oxy. It's scary really. I do know a vet that came back with an injury that they gave him Oxy for, he turned to Heroin, that's another way it happens.

How do you think heroin becomes popular?

Do you think young people, middle and upper class kids, are just jumping right into heroin?

I don't think, I know they are. It has become the drug of choice for young people prone to addiction.

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It's also expensive to break the habit. One of my best friend's fiancee was a hardcore pill addict, now trying to get clean. She goes to a clinic downtown and they charge $100 per week for the oxy-substitute (forget the name) that she takes to try to come down off of it. If she hadn't met my buddy (who is financing it) there's no way she'd fork over the ~430 to try to get clean.

that's way too much money. you can google around and find doctor's who will write the subutex/suboxone scripts for $100 a visit or something like that. its extremely potent medication and you have to be very careful not to stay on it or coming off that takes months. no exaggeration. the detox off subs is excruciatingly long.

I'm not sure of too many specifics, all I know is she has to go downtown everyday to the clinic and they give her the pill for the day. She sometimes has to see a counselor, sometimes gets tested and sometimes just gets the pill and leaves.

that sounds like old school methadone. im not a doctor, but i am a successfully recovered junkie and i would strongly advise a friend to get away from methadone and use a swift, quick suboxone detox. but i cant emphasize enough how important it is to be aggressive getting off suboxone as soon as possible. especially if you have real life responsibilities where you dont have the luxury of shutting things down for a month or two. its a horror show of non-stop relentless vicious heavy depression for weeks on end which is exponentially awful if you have to maintain a work life.

Edited by Apple Jack
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some, yes. if somebody thinks they are invincible and wants the biggest thrill there is, they will end up at heroin. its how i ended up there. its how some other people i know ended up there.

What was the situation where you decided to shoot up heroin before trying opiates? Were you using coke or meth at the time?

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Guest General Tso

In the span of two weeks last year I lost my 25 year old niece and my best friend's 27 year old nephew, who I was very close with and had been helping recover from addiction. He got his one year anniversary chip at a meeting I was at on Wednesday night. The next night after a meeting he ran into a few of his old using buddies, and a few hours later he was dead in their basement. They made sure to take his wallet off his hands though. He wasn't going to need it, right? I spent the one year anniversary a couple months ago with his Mom - all day - just comforting her and remembering all the fun times we had with Norm. It was brutal. One of the saddest days of my life.

I've been in recovery since August 5, 1984, and in those 31 years I've probably known 25 people who have relapsed and died. And I'd say about 15 of them have been due to heroin in the last 4 years. It's a scourge unlike anything I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot. After the rash of deaths last year my sister and I contacted our local Congressman, who I've know for many years, to see if he would support police all having naloxone kits in their vehicles to help revive overdose victims. This guy is a big shot in the US Congress and he's pretty Liberal. And our families have known each other for decades. Heck, my Dad gave him his first job. In any event, this guy basically wanted nothing to do with this issue. He all but said that this was a non-starter politically.

There is not a lot of support for drug addicts out there. There is a very real stigma that exists. A lot of people, some in this very thread, view drug addiction as a moral failing and something that should just be overcome with willpower. So while I'm extremely passionate about this issue, I choose to stay out of the politics of it all at the moment, and focus my efforts instead where I know I can do the most good - helping people recover.

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It's a prescription drug problem more than a heroin problem. Young people aren't out searching for heroin. They're getting hooked on Oxy's and it's basically over from there.

Two people I knew personally from high school, ages 31 and 36, overdosed on heroin within a week of each other a month ago. Middle class, good upbringing, started by taking Oxy's.

Disagree. Heroin is the popular drug right now among the young, it's not all because of Oxy. It's scary really. I do know a vet that came back with an injury that they gave him Oxy for, he turned to Heroin, that's another way it happens.

How do you think heroin becomes popular?

Do you think young people, middle and upper class kids, are just jumping right into heroin?

I don't think, I know they are. It has become the drug of choice for young people prone to addiction.

No kidding it's the drug of choice among young people. What I'm saying is most, the overwhelming majority, of these people are starting off on prescription drugs first.

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It's a prescription drug problem more than a heroin problem. Young people aren't out searching for heroin. They're getting hooked on Oxy's and it's basically over from there.

Two people I knew personally from high school, ages 31 and 36, overdosed on heroin within a week of each other a month ago. Middle class, good upbringing, started by taking Oxy's.

Disagree. Heroin is the popular drug right now among the young, it's not all because of Oxy. It's scary really. I do know a vet that came back with an injury that they gave him Oxy for, he turned to Heroin, that's another way it happens.

How do you think heroin becomes popular?Do you think young people, middle and upper class kids, are just jumping right into heroin?

I don't think, I know they are. It has become the drug of choice for young people prone to addiction.

. Cite? And I'm going with alcohol.
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In the span of two weeks last year I lost my 25 year old niece and my best friend's 27 year old nephew, who I was very close with and had been helping recover from addiction. He got his one year anniversary chip at a meeting I was at on Wednesday night. The next night after a meeting he ran into a few of his old using buddies, and a few hours later he was dead in their basement. They made sure to take his wallet off his hands though. He wasn't going to need it, right? I spent the one year anniversary a couple months ago with his Mom - all day - just comforting her and remembering all the fun times we had with Norm. It was brutal. One of the saddest days of my life.

I've been in recovery since August 5, 1984, and in those 31 years I've probably known 25 people who have relapsed and died. And I'd say about 15 of them have been due to heroin in the last 4 years. It's a scourge unlike anything I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot. After the rash of deaths last year my sister and I contacted our local Congressman, who I've know for many years, to see if he would support police all having naloxone kits in their vehicles to help revive overdose victims. This guy is a big shot in the US Congress and he's pretty Liberal. And our families have known each other for decades. Heck, my Dad gave him his first job. In any event, this guy basically wanted nothing to do with this issue. He all but said that this was a non-starter politically.

There is not a lot of support for drug addicts out there. There is a very real stigma that exists. A lot of people, some in this very thread, view drug addiction as a moral failing and something that should just be overcome with willpower. So while I'm extremely passionate about this issue, I choose to stay out of the politics of it all at the moment, and focus my efforts instead where I know I can do the most good - helping people recover.

Good luck. If you don't mind me asking. What did they OD on? If it was heroin were they abusing prescription meds beforehand?

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Guest General Tso

In the span of two weeks last year I lost my 25 year old niece and my best friend's 27 year old nephew, who I was very close with and had been helping recover from addiction. He got his one year anniversary chip at a meeting I was at on Wednesday night. The next night after a meeting he ran into a few of his old using buddies, and a few hours later he was dead in their basement. They made sure to take his wallet off his hands though. He wasn't going to need it, right? I spent the one year anniversary a couple months ago with his Mom - all day - just comforting her and remembering all the fun times we had with Norm. It was brutal. One of the saddest days of my life.

I've been in recovery since August 5, 1984, and in those 31 years I've probably known 25 people who have relapsed and died. And I'd say about 15 of them have been due to heroin in the last 4 years. It's a scourge unlike anything I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot. After the rash of deaths last year my sister and I contacted our local Congressman, who I've know for many years, to see if he would support police all having naloxone kits in their vehicles to help revive overdose victims. This guy is a big shot in the US Congress and he's pretty Liberal. And our families have known each other for decades. Heck, my Dad gave him his first job. In any event, this guy basically wanted nothing to do with this issue. He all but said that this was a non-starter politically.

There is not a lot of support for drug addicts out there. There is a very real stigma that exists. A lot of people, some in this very thread, view drug addiction as a moral failing and something that should just be overcome with willpower. So while I'm extremely passionate about this issue, I choose to stay out of the politics of it all at the moment, and focus my efforts instead where I know I can do the most good - helping people recover.

Good luck. If you don't mind me asking. What did they OD on? If it was heroin were they abusing prescription meds beforehand?

my niece started off on OxyContin. She OD'd on heroin. Norm never did the prescription stuff - straight to heroin which is what he OD'd on as well. There was a deadly batch of the #### in central CT in April of 2014 and it killed about 10 young people in the span of a couple weeks.

What's crazy about it is that when people at the NA meetings I was attending started hearing about the deadly batch, some recovering addicts started sharing that this was actually triggering urges to go out and try it. And these were pople who were clean, some with years of receivers under their belt. The insanity of drug addiction...

I speak at a rehab in the area occasionally, and a couple years ago I met a young girl who looked like she was about 13 (she was actually 16). Just a beautiful, all American looking girl from a nice town in rural CT. I spoke with her at the break and she said that in her high school the drug of choice was not alcohol or pot. It was heroin. Cheap and readily available. Shocked the hell out of me.

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some, yes. if somebody thinks they are invincible and wants the biggest thrill there is, they will end up at heroin. its how i ended up there. its how some other people i know ended up there.

What was the situation where you decided to shoot up heroin before trying opiates? Were you using coke or meth at the time?

Was always a partier. Never did iv. Just snorted. Coke was always till its gone, but never a next day want. Still do it every few years with old friends and its harmless. Didnt especially care for meth the handful of times I did it and wont do it again. Heroin first was when i lived in SF as tar and we would dilute it in visine bottles and drop it down our nose. First introduced by friends down from Portland and really liked it. Then nyc friends came to visit with the east coast powder and i got offered a transfer to nyc and that was all she wrote.

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It's a prescription drug problem more than a heroin problem. Young people aren't out searching for heroin. They're getting hooked on Oxy's and it's basically over from there.

Two people I knew personally from high school, ages 31 and 36, overdosed on heroin within a week of each other a month ago. Middle class, good upbringing, started by taking Oxy's.

Disagree. Heroin is the popular drug right now among the young, it's not all because of Oxy. It's scary really. I do know a vet that came back with an injury that they gave him Oxy for, he turned to Heroin, that's another way it happens.

How do you think heroin becomes popular?

Do you think young people, middle and upper class kids, are just jumping right into heroin?

Probably started by smoking weed.

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