On a global scale, as many as 36 million people use opioid drugs, with heroin being among the most popular. Clearly, there is a heroin epidemic, but how did it all begin? Take a closer look at heroin’s arrival in America, its growing popularity and how to fight the epidemic.
Heroin’s Introduction to America
At the end of the 19th century, drugs like morphine and opium were already popular. Around the world, they were used recreationally as well as medically. Scientists discovered that boiling morphine at length would create a more potent substance. This is what we know today as heroin.
By 1898, the drug company Bayer began marketing heroin. The American Medical Association even approved the use of heroin for the public. Physicians widely believed that heroin was less addictive than morphine and capable of healing any number of ailments. We now know, of course, that heroin is far from harmless.
Within a decade, heroin went from being a medical miracle to an illegal drug. Lawmakers passed legislation in 1916 banning the use or sale of the drug. It’s fair to say that the law did little good because heroin abuse and addiction is still rampant to this day.
Exploring Heroin’s Popularity
Heroin is not a drug with an appealing image. Non-users know that heroin is highly addictive, and most children in school learn the dangers and risks of this drug. Nonetheless, people continue to use heroin.
One big reason for the number of addictions in America is the highly addictive nature of the drug. As many as one in four people who ever try heroin will go on to develop an addiction. Experimentation, or one-time use, while under the influence of alcohol, could easily lead to lifelong problems.
Impossible to ignore is the connection between prescription drug abuse and the heroin epidemic. In the United States, physicians over-prescribe prescription opioids for pain management. While these drugs have medical benefits, they can still be addictive.
After just a few days or weeks of use, patients can develop an addiction to opioid prescription medications. Often, their prescriptions run out and they suffer from withdrawal. In an effort to end any unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, many of these individuals will turn to a similar type of opiate: Heroin.
How to End the Heroin Epidemic
Ending the opioid epidemic is certainly no easy feat. To start, it may be vital to reduce the number of opiates that physicians prescribe. Limiting access to these drugs could help curb the potential for addiction. Doctors also have to be more direct about the risk of developing a dependence.
On an individual level, it’s possible to overcome a heroin addiction. Although detox is critical since heroin withdrawal is uncomfortable, a longer rehab program is where individuals do most of the recovery work. At The Hills Treatment Center, some of the therapies we offer for rehab include:
- Dual diagnosis care
- Individual therapy
- Group counseling
- Massage therapy
- Fitness and yoga therapies
Ending the heroin epidemic starts with overcoming your dependence once and for all. At The Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles, California, you can recover in a warm, luxurious environment. Call 866-323-4665 to begin your journey to recovery through addiction treatment right away.