It is no surprise to anyone that opiate addiction is at epidemic proportions. What is alarming for most people is how heroin addicts become addicted. The majority of people who are using opiate based drugs start of innocently enough with a prescription to an opioid based painkiller such as Percocet or Vicodin. They take the medication as prescribed and often times the pain for which the medication was given for subsides before the prescription runs out. When the patient no longer has legitimate pain and continues to take an opioid, they will have a rush of euphoria and an overall feeling of well-being. This feeling may trigger the person who has been prescribed this medication to want more, starting the cycle of addiction.
In the beginning, most addicts look at their “habit” as something that isn't very dangerous. They finish their prescription but they do something that is not normal by any means. They search for more of the drug. At this point, the drug already has taken control over their life. The user has a very low tolerance and decides to take some more pills here and there. They may even start taking them daily after a long day of work to wind down. They convince themselves that it isn't a problem at all and they can stop at any time. This may go one for a few weeks or a month and the price behind their habit isn't much to worry about. Things become very evident that they have an issue when they run out of pills for the first time and withdrawal sets in.
Withdrawal feels like the flu accompanied by depression, anxiety and insomnia. The user may research what is going on and figure out that if they take more pills, the withdrawal symptoms will go away. The moment they take a pill to kill the withdrawal symptoms is when they have become a full blown addict. They knew that they could go through withdrawals and stop all together but making that conscience decision to go back to using starts a downward spiral that can be deadly.
With the addiction to pills becoming very expensive, many addicts make the switch to a cheaper, but unfortunately more deadly opiate: heroin. Heroin use is growing rapidly, as addicts can no longer afford prescription pills. "We are seeing seizures of heroin at levels we've never seen before in the state of Pennsylvania," says Special Agent in Charge David Dongilli of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This is not just the case there, but every town in every state in the United States. I get phone calls from people from all over the country and I hear this statement atleast once every few days, “you would not believe how bad it is here.” The sad thing is, I do understand and it is bad everywhere. If you or someone you know is addicted, please seek professional treatment immediately.