Are Prescription Drugs a Gateway to Heroin?

Are Prescription Drugs a Gateway to Heroin?

In Addiction, Article by Tree House Recovery

Heroin is an opioid, and as the opioid epidemic has indicated, prescription drugs can certainly lead into heroin use. A 2017 review published in the journal Dialogues of Clinical Neuroscience states that for many people, opioids provide more than just a “high” – they, “…reportedly relieve psychological/emotional problems or provide an escape from life stressors.”

As a person becomes more dependent on prescription drugs, they begin to struggle in dealing with withdrawal symptoms and the overall “sickness” that can come cessation of use – in turn, many people find themselves seeking that relief, long after their prescription has ended. Of the studies analyzed, researchers from the study aforementioned discovered a major reason behind this transition: accessibility and affordability.

Several individuals found in the studies reviewed noted that once their prescription drug stopped (and policies became stricter surrounding “doctor shopping” and other methods of obtaining prescription drugs), those with a drug dependency faced 2 choices: stop use altogether or find a drug that was more easily accessible and less expensive. Here is an excerpt from one participant’s story: “…When I first started doing drugs, I started taking the pills (alprazolam, oxycodone, etc.), anything that was prescription. After that I progressed into heroin and cocaine because…sometimes the prescription drugs are real expensive.”

An article published in The New England Journal of Medicine emphasized that between 2000 and 2014, the rates of death from prescription-opioid overdose nearly quadrupled. The concern surrounding the opioid epidemic has been a major topic, as officials, healthcare professionals and researchers are trying to explore what types of options are needed to prevent these dependencies from occurring.

If you’ve been experiencing signs of dependency from prescription drugs, speak with your doctor immediately. If you’ve been abusing substance and are ready to seek treatment for addiction, reach out for help today. It’s never too late to restore your mind, body and spirit.

Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474