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Prescription Drug Abuse Fueling Rise in Heroin Addiction


The increase in prescription drug abuse is fueling a rise in heroin addiction, NBC News reports. A growing number of young people who start abusing expensive prescription drugs are switching to heroin, which is cheaper and easier to buy.

Prescription pain pills cost $20 to $60, while heroin costs $3 to $10 a bag. Many young people who use heroin start off snorting the drug, and within weeks, most start shooting up, according to the news report.

“Kids in the city know not to touch it, but the message never got out to the suburbs,” said Chicago Police Capt. John Roberts, whose son died of a heroin overdose. He founded the Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization to help other families deal with teen heroin use.

In 2009, the most recent year for which national data is available, 510 young adults, ages 15 to 24, died of a heroin overdose, up from 198 in 1999. Almost 90 percent of teens who are addicted to heroin are white.

“It’s hard to talk about the heroin problem without talking about the prescription drug problem,” said Rafael Lemaitre, of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

6 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Kelly Jones
    Kelly Jones / July 6, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I completely agree, we as parents, need to be educated more. My son is a recovering heroin addict who is now addicted to methadone, thanks in part to the methadone detox he was undergoing to kick the heroin addiction. Looking back on it, I should have recognized the signs and gotten him help sooner. But then again, maybe I just didn’t want to believe my soon could be doing something so stupid.

  2. Avatar of Eddie
    Eddie / June 21, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    It does not surprise me that heroin use is rising right behind the spike in prescription drug use. It may sound cliche but it seems to me that prescription pills are the ‘gateway’ to harder drugs such as heroin. I am a recovered addict (although stimulants were my drug of choice) and I have had the opportunity to recover from a miserable existence. If you are looking for help check out the place I got help from.

  3. Avatar of G.
    G. / June 21, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    In our Drug Court the trend startet 10 years ago and is consistant with this report. By the time they hit the adult felony they had several years of use as a teen.

  4. Avatar of J
    J / June 21, 2012 at 5:29 pm


  5. Avatar of kdeady
    kdeady / June 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    We are losing the battle against addiction.We must educate parents regarding what is out there and what to look for, signs, behaviors etc. The cost of opiate addiction to familys and communities is too high. K. Deady

  6. Avatar of immi
    immi / August 8, 2013 at 10:41 am

    My boyfriend is sitting in prison because of choices he made while addicted to both prescribed medications and heroin. He asked for help an the clinical sides turned him down for the reason of no insurance. More needs to be done to help those who suffer. Its sad when you can get new needles cookers and tourniquets and opiate blocker shots for free but when you ask for help you need to pay to kick your habbit. I wish there would have been more options for us to try before it came to his current solution hes attempting to kick it but is looking at serving 8 yrs to do it.

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