Many heroin addicts start their road to addiction beginning with prescription drugs. This first introduction to drugs is also known as the gateway drug. This opens up the path to heavier more destructive drugs and addictions.
Prescription drug addiction
An estimated 48 million people have used prescription drugs for non medical reasons within their lifetime. This staggering amount of prescription drug abuse has also led to a corresponding amount of other addictions.
There are three classes of prescription drugs that are abused:
Opiates – used to treat pain. Some examples include Morphine, Oxycontin and Vicodin.
Central Nervous System (CNS) – a depressant used to treat anxiety or sleep disorders. Common prescriptions are Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Klonopin.
Stimulants – contains amphetamine, methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine are used to treat attention deficit disorders. Familiar prescriptions are Ritalin, Adderal, Concerta and Daytrana.
These differing drugs all provide users with similar highs that can be found in other illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
Heroin is considered an opioid drug that is derived from morphine. This drug can be delivered in many ways from injecting, snorting, and smoking it. All three deliver the drug immediately to the brain. This drug distorts the brains chemistry which often creates both short and long term effects.
Prescription drug abuse becomes a very expensive addiction and heavy users build up a tolerance fairly quickly. In order to achieve the same high at a cheaper price many prescription addicts turn to heroin.
Opiate prescription drugs such as oxycontin and vicodin provide extremely similar affects as heroin and make the transition easier. In a recent survey nearly half the young adults who participated admitted to abusing prescription opiates before using heroin. When asked why they made the switch their response was that heroin was cheaper and easier to obtain.
Prescription and heroin drug treatment
There is a range of treatment options including behavioral therapies and medication that are effective in helping addicts return to living sober. It is important when seeking such help to find a rehabilitation center that fits all your needs.
Addiction treatment centers such as The Cove Center for Recovery offers both a variety of therapies and the medical attention necessary to help you regain sobriety. The Cove has a highly individualized treatment plan made specifically for each patient.