Over the past decade, the United States has witnessed an epidemic that has taken the lives of thousands of it's citizens and ruined countless amounts of families. These victims died from an overdose or from the repercussions of being an opiate addict.
Statistically, they say that being an opiate addicts ends in one of two ways. Death or jail. I've seen first hand many friends and acquaintances die from opiate abuse. Those who ended up in jail eventually get out and fell back into their same old addictions. Opiate abuse is very interesting. Someone can be put in jail and will go through detox. (Jail is probably the last place in the world where you would ever want to go through withdrawals). The addicts get clean while they are in prison, but once they get out they go right back to using. This is when many addicts end up overdosing. When they went into jail, their tolerance was high and they could use a lot of opiates. After being clean for some time, many addicts think they can start up again right where they left off. This thought process has dire consequences because tolerance needs time to build up. Addicts going right back to their old dosage end up overdosing because their tolerance decreased while they detoxed in jail.
In the history of our country, heroin abuse had a face. It was normal for poor inner city people to get hooked on the powerful opiate and America was used to seeing this trend. Over the past decade, we have seen first hand the change. These drugs no longer affect only the poor inner city people. These drugs have no prejudice and have made their way across the country affecting every city and town no matter how big or small.
Prescription pills had such a negative trend on our society. The painkillers started popping up everywhere. The United States government began cracking down on the over-prescribing of opiate based medications. Doctor shopping, or the act of going to multiple doctors to get more pills started getting shut down. The "pill mills" that popped up as "pain management clinics" that were writing out prescriptions for millions of pills per year. These dirty doctors would give an opiate prescription to whoever had the money to see the doctor, and able to afford the prescription pills. Crooked doctors were selling the prescriptions in their own offices making it a one stop shop for addicts and dealers. These doctors were willing to put their license on the line by making millions of dollars selling these popular pills.
For every action there is always an equal reaction. The government was unaware that when they cracked down on the prescription painkiller problem that the heroin problem would take over and start to take lives just as quickly. If anything, heroin is more dangerous because you ever know what you are getting.
When the crackdown came on the painkillers, they became scarce. When something becomes scarce, the price goes up. Most addicts were unwilling or unable to pay for the prescription painkillers any longer and quickly realized that they could get the same euphoric high from heroin for a much cheaper cost. The main problem with heroin is that it's potency varies drastically from bag to bag. With prescription painkillers, they have quality control and are strictly monitored by the FDA so each person injecting the painkillers knows exactly what the dosage is every time. With heroin it's gambling with your life every time you take a hit. More people using heroin, and the potency varying caused heroin overdoses to increase. People who never would have thought in a million years would touch illegal drugs were now shooting up heroin in their McMansions in the suburbs around the country. Hopefully each state will put into place better facilities to treat addicts rather than throwing them into prisons. Throwing an addict into prison does not cure them. It only delays their use until they get back out into society.