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11.13.2013

Painkiller Abuse by Children Can Lead to Heroin Addiction

Opiate drugs are analgesic substances which are synthesized from morphine, a product of the poppy plant, which have been used for thousands of years for their pain-killing effects. Opiate drugs produce euphoric feelings and can be very dangerous to users when tolerances are developed. Users are susceptible to withdrawal from cessation of use and possible overdose due to the user seeking the same “high” after developing a tolerance. An epidemic has been growing in the United States over the last two decades involving America’s youth and prescription opiate medication abuse.

According to a study conducted by The White House, prescription drug are the second most widely abused drugs by young people in the United States behind marijuana. Many children gain access to powerful opiate painkillers such as Vicodin or Oxycontin right in their own home, from their parents medicine cabinets. In a far too common story, teenagers begin experimenting with prescription medications easily accessible in their home. Once they begin regular use, supply of the pills often becomes an issue, leading the users to the street to obtain their new wares. “Doctor shopping” is often the next step, where users visit many doctors complaining of the same symptoms to obtain multiple prescriptions for painkillers. Monitoring programs by state agencies have cut down on doctor shopping significantly. The next step for users in obtaining opiates is to turn to street drugs. Street prices for these pills can range from $5 up to $80 a pill, which make the habit expensive and debilitating quickly. The deterring cost of these opiate prescription pills often quickly becomes an issue for a new addict, leading them to seek a cheaper alternative to their opiate habit, Heroin. Heroin is an extremely dangerous street drug that can be white or brown (black tar), is often injected intraveniously and has powerful pain-killing effects. The risk of withdrawal, overdose and death resulting from heroin use are extremely high.

Preventing our youth from having easy access to prescription medications in the home and educating them to the risks of such substances is the first step in preventing tragedies from prescription painkiller abuse. Parents must talk to their children about prescription drugs and their potential risks. If someone you know or someone you love is struggling with the disease of addiction or experiencing the dangers of opiate abuse, Genesis House is here to help 24 hours a day. Make the call that could save a life before it’s too late: toll-free 24/7/365 1-800-737-0933.

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Season 3, Episode 31: 29 Years of Recovery w/ Andy V.