What happens when you take away someone’s drugs without helping them kick a habit? Apparently, they look for another way to get high. That’s what many treatment providers and detox experts in Florida say is happening to the state’s prescription drug addicts.
Since state officials began cracking down on pill mills and the illegal prescription drug trade, addicts have been forced to look elsewhere. While there’s a chance it forced some into treatment, many instead looked for a cheaper, equivalent high. And many have settled on heroin.
Like Oxycontin and other similarly popular prescription drugs, heroin is an opiate. This means the high is similar and the cheaper street drug can quench an addict’s cravings. But, it certainly isn’t any better for you and could be fueling the next drug epidemic, according to some.
“At some point, it became expensive to buy prescription pills, so he started buying heroin,” said Karen Perry of her son. But like other addicts, the heroin proved fatal.
It’s an issue of supply and demand. Already expensive prescription drugs only get more expensive as they become hard to get (as is the case with the pill mill crackdown). If you have an unending supply of disposable income, this isn’t a problem. But, for most addicts, that kind of cash doesn’t exist. Heroin offers a much cheaper and easier to find high.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) cited heroin as one of the year’s most deadly drugs in 2011. That year, deaths from heroin increased nearly 19% to 62. While heroin deaths are still down from their peak a few decades ago, the recent jump has officials concerned.
The detox off of a heroin addiction is brutal. And many addicts don’t consider this when they make the switch from prescription drugs. With detox facilities hard to come by, the increase in heroin addicts could create a treatment problem—one where there simply isn’t enough help to go around.
When an addict doesn’t have access to treatment, they often end up arrested. Jails and prisons have become the mental health and drug treatment centers that used to exist within the communities—and they are truly ineffective at helping people overcome problems like drug addiction and mental illness.
In some situations, however, an arrest can open the door to help. In one of the many Florida drug courts, for instance, an addict can find access to some treatment options and more help than punishment.
If you are charged with a drug offense and you need help, contact us today.