It’s what Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. calls “an urgent and growing public health crisis,” and an inexpensive high, accessible to people in every socio-economic group.
It’s heroin. And it should be scaring potential users shitless.
Aggressive enforcement by the DEA and other organizations have cut down on some aspects of heroin trafficking, but synthetic product is making its rounds in affluent areas across the United States. A twisted consequence of hounding doctors for unnecessary prescription pain medication write-ups has led those who can no longer earn an easy high from a bottle of morphine-based pills (OxyContin being a big player) to turn to cheap and prescription-free street drugs.
The aforementioned pills kill around 16,000 people each year, according to the Washington Post, and heroin only kills about 3,000, comparatively. Sounds relatively safe, right? Not necessarily. But more about that later. While some say that there is no correlation between the prescription drug drop and heroin, talk to anyone who uses the drug; it is likely that he or she struggled to access pills and turned to shooting up for its convenience and cost-effectiveness.
Part of the problem is that coming off of heroin can be an excruciatingly painful experience, with withdrawal being the absolute anti-climax of the drug’s fantasy-level high. People are naturally wired to seek immediate pleasure rather than wait for a payout and, unfortunately, heroin users have a difficult time ever seeing any payout ever after an attempted rehabilitation due to the drug’s biopsychosocial role in the person’s life. The appeal to cutting oneself off, therefore, is low.
Why is it so hard to stop, besides the obvious, long-lasting dopamine high? Triggers are everywhere, and they cause intense cravings. (There goes the payout.) The most dangerous part?
If a user doesn’t experience the trigger but starts using again despite that, the user’s body will not prepare for the dosage appropriately and an overdose is very possible. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
With the high-profile death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman causing a media circus over the past few months, the focus on heroin addiction may have increased for the better. America’s youth may now have a better grasp on the idea that a long-time user who knows his way around a needle will die from the drug, too. Experience is not a user’s friend. This is a case of when staying away altogether is better than ever sliding into that frightening, toxic pool.
IMAGES: Nat Geo TV | Blogspot | Huffington Post