Heroin Epidemic: Changing Demographics

Posted on :  July 27th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

The stereotypical heroin addict image is very different from what the average heroin junkie looks like today. Many people imagine a person who is too thin with sunken eyes, dirty hair, and poor. Now, the typical heroin addict no longer steals and no longer survives day-by-day living on the streets with other addicts. The junkie of today generally developed a heroin addiction from prescription pain medications. When they were no longer able to get pain medication, they turned to heroin. Instead of being poor and living on the streets, today’s addict could be a man or woman and usually is educated with a well-paying job in a professional field.

Most addicts find that their problem began in their early 20s. They once had a prescription to a pain medication for a variety of reasons, like car accidents, surgery recovery, or sports-related accidents. Most of the people who are now addicted to opioids lived (and might still live) in comfortable suburbs and they usually had good health insurance, which helped them afford the expensive prescriptions.

There are several opioid pills that are approved for medical prescriptions and they work so well because they bind to receptors in the human brain. Eventually, those receptors want more because they build up a tolerance to the opioid. When the drug works, the user might feel sleepy, a bit nauseous, and they also feel euphoria. After a while, it becomes difficult for users to get the same feeling. Usually, at this point, the prescription is no longer valid and the physician will not write another one. So, users need to find another way to get the high they once go. This is where heroin enters the picture.

The price of heroin makes it easy to afford. The drug is also rather easy to find. When an addict needs to find a pain pill, they could spend more than $30.00, especially if they no longer had a prescription. Most pills cost at least $1 per milligram and many pills are 30 or 60 milligrams. Heroin usually costs much less than a single pain pill, and the quality of the drug has improved over the rough version that was used in the 1960s and 1970s. Heroin shoppers usually spend between $10 and $30 for a single use, which is half the price (or less) than the cost of one prescription pain pill – that does not do much for the opioid addict.

The largest consumer of pain medications is the people of the United States. This means that the United States also has the most deaths caused by overdose from opioids. Some say that one person dies from an opioid-related death every 20 minutes in the United States. These numbers have increased dramatically in just 10 years. While the addiction numbers in Canada are not as dramatic as those in the United States, the numbers are staggering and the trends follow what is happening across the border.

Professionals who work in the opioid addiction treatment specially continue to see increasing admissions rates in their facilities. The people who are looking for treatment help need it for heroin and for their prescription medications. Some states have seen increases over at least one full percent over the course of one year; that may not sound like much, but when talking about states with millions of residents, one percent is significant. There have been reports of heroin trafficking charges increasing by over 100 percent over the course of one year in some of the states that border Canada. Those who claim to be addicted to heroin have risen over 200 percent in ten years.

The heroin that comes through the United States and into Canada originates in Mexico. Farmers in Mexico have realized that they can make more money selling heroin instead of marijuana, so they now grow poppies. The drug cartels pay well because they know that it is more dangerous to transport heroin tar, but they still put people at risk because there are so many people who want the drug to the north.

If you or someone you know need any treatment, contact us at our head office at 905-527-2042 to get the best addiction treatment.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.