Heroin Abuse Increases in Florida

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A short time ago, a common trend was the rising rate of opioid addiction in Florida. Today the trend has changed, and not for the better. Several things have made opioids harder to come by for those who are addicted to them. Implemented first was the prescription pill monitoring data base, which has helped physicians restrict and monitor prescriptions written to patients. With this program, it was easier to point out which patients were doctor-shopping; it was also helpful in cutting down the unnecessary amount of prescription drugs being distributed. This in turn led to a slight cut-back in prescription pills being given to the greater population who were not patients.

Next came modified pills, such as the "uncrushable" form of Oxycontin. Because the pill turns into a mushy substance, popular methods of ingestion such as snorting and injecting the pills became nearly impossible. This also led to higher difficulty in obtaining the pills that so many have come to abuse every day.

The problem is that while these precautions managed to help diminish opioid addiction slightly, it also drove up prices and made these pills harder to come by. These side effects were anticipated by some, but most did not expect that instead of checking into rehab and halting the abuse, people instead turned to heroin to fuel their addiction.

Prescription pills were once sold on the street for 3 to 6 dollars, depending on brand and potency. After the precautionary measures were taken, these prices rose to over 10 dollars per pill. With such high prices, it quickly became unsustainable for prescription pill addicts. The options were to either resort to violent and criminal activity to support the habit, or switch to a cheaper and "easy-to-come" by drug. Heroin is both cheaper than prescription pills now, and very easy to come by in the Sunshine State.

Along with affordable price and abundance, heroin is also known for the intensity of the high. In terms of "the high," heroin compared to prescription pills is like a bolt of lightning compared to an AA battery. Once previous prescription pill users realize how potent and easy to obtain heroin is, it is often the case that they never switch back. Another terrible factor is how quickly heroin can instill dependence. Opioids like oxycodone can take between 10 and 30 days of continual use to begin developing dependence. Heroin addiction can happen much more quickly; in fact, some people becoming addicted after only one hit.

Historically, heroin deaths statewide are lower than they have been in the past two decades, but the slight increase has many people worried about what is to come. Florida was once the capital of prescription pill abuse and doctor shopping. Just a year ago nearly 300 pain clinics were shut down and some prescription-writing doctors lost their licenses to practice. Now, as heroin-related deaths are popping up all over the state, it is unquestionable that the new strict policies and monitoring programs are the cause. With 62 deaths in the last year, the drug was officially flagged as one of the most threatening and harmful substances in the world.

For more information on our addiction treatment programs and therapeutic approaches, call toll free at: 800-960-5041. Florida Center for Recovery offers residential drug and alcohol rehab treatment through 12-Step and Non 12-Step Programs.

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