Opiate addiction and abuse claims the lives of thousands of people a year. It does not matter what age or social class you come from, opiates have infiltrated every demographic. Much of the epidemic was fueled in the early 2000's by over-prescribing and very liberal practices by physicians. After the desire and demand for these medications drastically increased, the black market became flooded with these powerful, addictive and profitable pills.
Once the drugs spread across the country, no one was safe from the havoc they created. Towns with very little crime started to see increases in thefts because addicts were stealing to pay for their habit. The pill prices started to climb and many users began to switch to a more dangerous opiate, heroin. Although prescription painkillers react identically to heroin in the body, heroin is more dangerous because of the lack of quality control. With prescription drugs, you know exactly what the potency is and it is easier to gauge your use. With heroin, the potency changes from bag to bag and because of this, overdoses happen much more frequently.
Many practices of illegally obtaining prescription painkillers have been shut down such as doctor shopping. State governments have done an outstanding job of taking many prescription painkillers off the street, but the problem will never simply go away. When there are less pills on the street the price skyrockets. Addicts will find a way to get their fix and this means an increase in crime to pay for these expensive pills or the natural progression over to the more dangerous opiate, heroin. Heroin has taken over as the primary drug abused in most states because its purity is the highest ever and the price is very low. A bag of heroin that cost $15-$20 a decade ago are now going for as cheap as $5 bag.
Most towns have seen a dramatic increase in overdoses because of this reason. Many local governments have armed their first responders with the drug Narcan (Naloxone) to fight overdoses. Narcan is a very popular medication that reverses the effects of opiate withdrawal immediately if administered at the right time. It has saved thousands of lives around the country. The need for this drug is growing by the day and more people need to know this drug is available. In most states, families can get the drug prescribed to their home if they have a loved one who they know is either prescribed opiates or that is a known opiate addict. The drug is easily administered. You can either get the injection which is intra-muscular which means it is shot into the muscle. The other form of Narcan is a nasal spray that is sprayed into the nostril. If you are interested in this medication as a life-saving tool in your home, please contact your family physician.