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Increased Heroin Abuse Owed To Excessive Prescribing Of Painkillers

According to the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s July report, the general heroin abuse across the population is increasing at an alarming rate, even extending to all the population groups. What’s further alarming is the discovery of its abuse among those up until recently was considered safe; the women and those with higher income. The use of this highly addictive and dangerous drug is nearly surpassing epidemic levels as overdoses increase. The report reveals that over the last seven years, heroin overdoses have even tripled, leaving a lot to worry about.

What is largely to blame for this sad scenario is the massive over-prescription of the opiate-based painkillers, whereby up to 40% of its users are more likely to abuse heroin in the long run. Heroin, similar to these painkillers, is opiate-based, and they’re more likely to opt for them when the effect from the painkillers is no longer successfully achieved (Either due to tolerance or financial reasons). The research further reveals that over the last two decades, opiate-based prescriptions have shot up in over three times with 259 million prescriptions written in 2012 alone. This is, thus, the reason for the drastic rise in the use of this addictive drug.

Dr. Tom Frieden, a CDC Director, further attributed this dangerous trend to increased allowance through prescriptions as well as the ease of getting them, what was overwhelmingly agreed by many practicing physicians albeit the looming danger. In a national poll conducted by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health alone, more than 85% of its doctors admitted the same, saying that opiate-based drug overuse was no longer a foreign case.

Additionally, another poll done by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s primary care physicians showed that a great number of them didn’t understand how patients might abuse them or even how addictive it can be. The poll simply highlighted the need to offer patients valuable information including the risk of addiction, what then prompted a bill on the same in the New Jersey Legislature. The Patient Notification (PN) Bill is still pending legislation and is considered a great move for the wellness of the state.

This bill on the patient notification seeks to highlight the effects of the drug on adults. Doctors and other parties must discuss the results due to potential risks before writing a prescription. The facts will greatly aid in making informed decisions and even lower the cases of addiction.

While the bill received immense bipartisan support and passed in the state Senate last year, it’s the progress on its eventual legislation that is still inhibiting its further progress, according to the Assembly Health Committee Chair Herb Conaway. The residents must know what drug they are being prescribed and if there are any other alternatives. It’s perhaps, the right moment to change how people get their prescriptions and hopefully lower and counter the epidemic before more lives are destroyed and lost.


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