Crackdown on Painkiller Abuse Fuels New Wave of Heroin Addiction
Jun 18, 2012
While new regulations and law enforcement efforts have significantly reduced the supply of prescription drugs, they have inadvertently driven many users to another type of opiate that is cheap, powerful and perhaps even more destructive—heroin. Across the country, experts are seeing abuse of heroin at striking levels. “It’s an epidemic,” said Dr. Joe Gay, director of the regional addiction and mental health clinic Health Recovery Services, who has studied patterns of drug use in Ohio. A flood of cheap heroin from Mexico, which is now one of the leading sources of the drug to the United States, is another reason for the return of the scourge.
According to the Justice Department, the drug is showing up in new areas, including upscale suburban towns where heroin was once rare. Suburban father Randy Mayer explains his attitude before his daughter got addicted, “There was never a thought that ever entered my mind that I would ever lose a child through addiction.” He continues, “Watching this thing grab her and not let go, I mean, it was a horrible time.” Teens emphasize the difficulty of avoiding heroin when its use is so prevalent. “It’s just hard being young and staying clean,” says Holly Yates of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “I mean this town, it’s just, like, that’s all that’s here.”
Learn More: Heroin, Prescription for Disaster
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