America’s heroin addiction epidemic has become very hard to ignore. The abuse and addiction of opioids like heroin has become a serious problem in the U.S. affecting the health, social and economic welfare of the society. It is estimated that over 500,000 people living in the United States are addicted to heroin. With more than 400,000 people admitting to having used heroin in the last 30 days. Heroin overdoses have tripled between 2010 and 2016. Deaths from heroin overdose is fast approaching the deaths from car crashes. With over 10000 deaths in the last year.
Heroin Addiction – Historically Speaking
How did it get the situation get that bad? A recent survey done shows that three out of every four heroin addicts started out by using prescription drugs. Many of the heroin users are shifting from prescription pill addiction to heroin addiction. The survey showed that people who are dependent on opioids are 40 times more likely to abuse or to be dependent on heroin. Due to the recent legislation introduced in the US getting prescription drugs have become difficult and most addicts turn to heroin. With an increase in supply of heroin in America prices went down making it easier for users to obtain the drug. A large number of young people that have been abusing expensive prescription drugs have switched to heroin since it is not only cheaper buy easy to buy.
Possible Solutions to Heroin Addiction
With the epidemic the new born babies are victims of the epidemic as well. When a pregnant mother abuses heroin, the baby is exposed to the drug. After birth they undergo a few hours or days of withdrawal symptoms. The intensity of the symptoms will vary from baby to baby depending on how much the baby had been exposed to. The sad fact is that the number of babies undergoing withdrawal is on the rise.
Addressing the Heroin Addiction Epidemic
Educating the public about how heroin abuse impacts lives is a major step not only to educate them but also so they can go out to the community, their loved ones and friends to pass on the message about the epidemic.
Evidenced-based treatment has been proven to be the most successful form if treating all forms of substance abuse, including heroin addiction.
Safe Injection Facilities
In these facilities people get a safe and hygienic environment that they can inject the drug under a nurse’s supervision. In the facilities they should also have counseling and treatment. They should offer a community support. The people get a safe place for injection and where they get comprehensive services. Advocates for the facilities argue that it will keep users alive and open doors for treatment.
Medication Assisted treatment
Treatment facilities that offer Suboxone should be increased. Suboxone is a drug that eases withdrawal symptoms and suppresses the cravings for opioids. Expanding the facilities and increasing the total number of patients by each patient has been of great help to addicts.
Treat addicts and not jail them
Police should push drug offenders that are not violent to go for treatment rather than jailing them. Inviting addicts for guidance regarding treatment will be of more help to them rather than jailing them. The challenge is that police are more concerned about jailing dealers and suppliers than they are about getting addicts help.
Heroin Addiction: Conclusion
To deal with the epidemic demand for heroin has to be eliminated. If there is no demand there will be no supply. Fighting the heroin addiction epidemic might take time but small steps should be taken now.