Learning Links between Heroin and Prescription Pills | Yellowstone Recovery

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Learning Links between Heroin and Prescription Pills

When you think of an opiate addict, you most likely envision someone who is using a needle to inject heroin in an abandoned building, unwashed, unmotivated, and most likely homeless. While some opiate addicts fit that model, you are just as likely to meet an opiate addict who is very well groomed, has a job with health insurance benefits, and is living in a suburb or relatively nice home. This is because the opiates found in pain relievers are just as dangerous as the heroin that you can buy on the street. In fact, if you were to speak with an opiate addict in an affordable drug rehab facility, you would learn that many addicts don’t need to seek out heroin, because they can go straight to the doctor.

Drug Bust Policies

On just about any given day, you can watch the news and learn of recent drug busts involving narcotics like heroin, cocaine, marijuana, or other substances. What you don’t see a lot of are drug busts for pills, though one county in Ohio reports that the average person on pain medication received 79 doses a year. Many people who have health insurance will go to the doctor to get prescriptions that are paid for by their insurance. Then, they turn around and sell unused pills, making it hard to understand why the authorities aren’t making more efforts to do something about this growing problem. There are a couple of reasons:

  • It can be more difficult to spot people who sell pills than street drugs.
  • Pills cost more to buy than street drugs do, and many law enforcement agencies don’t want to spend that kind of money, though the pills are just as dangerous and addictive as the street drugs.
  • People don’t always sell their pills, but do abuse them on their own.

Preventative Measures

It is not uncommon for opiate addicts to start out by treating an acute or chronic condition. It doesn’t take long for the effects of the pain medication to require increasing doses. Even those who only are on medication for a short amount of time may be at risk when you consider genetic factors and lifestyle issues. You can take some preventative measures to avoid becoming addicted to pain medication or putting someone else at risk for addiction to opiates:

  • Take unused medications to your local hospital for proper disposal, keeping them out of the way for those who might be tempted to take them, but also making sure they are disposed of in a way that doesn’t impact the ground water or town water supply.
  • Request pain medication that doesn’t contain opiates, and seek out alternate pain management methods.
  • Take medication only as prescribed and honestly assess your pain level so you aren’t taking them when you don’t really need them.
  • Closely monitor loved ones who require the use of opiates. Suggest alternate methods of pain relief.

By properly using your own medication and taking a few preventative measures, you can help keep opiates out of the hands of those who would use them in ways they shouldn’t. If you would like to know more about opiate addiction, visit Yellowstone Recovery today.

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