How Does Heroin Addiction Start?
With a heroin epidemic running rampant through our country, it’s important to start educating yourself on how heroin works.
In particular, how does heroin addiction start?
Most people don’t start out simply craving heroin one day – so where does it all begin?
General Drug Abuse Risk Factors
In general, there are five main risk factors for illicit drug use. While not all heroin addicts might have these risk factors, they are still a valuable in understanding why some people start using drugs. Risk factors may include:
- Early aggressive behavior
- Surrounded by substance abuse
- Lack of parental supervision
- Drug availability
Keep in mind that having one or even several of these risk factors does not guarantee drug use. However, once a person does start on the path of drug use, it’s hard to turn back, as they will be surrounding themselves in the culture of drug use and be friends with only people who take drugs.
The Relationship with Prescription Opioid Painkillers
Again we consider the common question, “How does heroin addiction start?” Perhaps the biggest starting point is opioid painkillers.
In fact, 80 percent of people currently using heroin are estimated to have used prescription opioid painkillers first.
These seemingly innocuous medications are typically prescribed by doctors for patients suffering from chronic pain, pain after surgery, or for an injury.
They work the same way as heroin does – by stimulating the opioid receptors in your brain to reduce pain and produce a pleasurable sensation.
In just a short period of time, your body can get used to this constant stimulation and start to crave it more and more. In fact, if these receptors aren’t stimulated, you’ll start to feel withdrawal symptoms.
In order to prevent this, people start taking more and more opioid painkillers. Eventually, they are addicted and can’t stop without medical intervention.
Heroin is just the next step up from these opioid painkillers. It’s stronger, easier to obtain, and far cheaper.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all people on opioid painkillers become addicted and switch to heroin. In fact, only four percent of people who misused prescription painkillers started using heroin within five years.
Other Drugs and Heroin
Prescription opioids aren’t the only path to heroin. In fact, polydrug use as a cause of heroin use was even more common in a study done in the Chicago area.
Polydrug use is simply when you take more than one drug at a time in order to create the perfect high.
Another drug that was commonly used before heroin was cocaine.
Lower Prices and More Availability
Whether it’s because of the high demand or simply because it’s become easier to obtain, prices for heroin are dropping all around the country.
For example, in Kentucky, a single dose of heroin costs only $9. Compared with the outrageous cost of $100 for a single 80mg Oxycontin pill, that’s an absolute bargain.
Even worse, heroin can now be smoked or snorted instead of taken with a needle. This makes it easier for people who are afraid of injecting themselves to take it.
How does heroin addiction start? As you can see, there are many different paths to this addiction.
However, there’s really only one path away from this addiction, and it’s by getting help from a reliable and knowledgeable treatment center.