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BEWARE: Dependency on Prescription Painkillers Could Lead to Heroin Addiction

Oct 04, 2016 03:48 AM EDT
Prescription Painkillers
Prescription painkillers are generally safe -- if used appropriately. Once it is abused, there is a tendency that this will be the start of search for street drugs such as marijuana and heroin.
(Photo : stevepb/Public Domain/Pixabay)

Heroin addiction might have possibly started by ingesting prescription painkillers that are just an arm reach from a cabinet.

US General Secretary Loretta Lynch discussed in a speech this week that it is most likely possible that heroin addiction came about when we abuse our use of prescription painkillers, some of which have opioid contents.

Many prescription painkillers have opioid so it is important to refrain from overdosing. Opioid works by binding the opiate receptors found in the in the central nervous system, which, in turn, help reduce the discomfort of the patient. Prescription painkillers are generally safe, if taken in proper dosages. However, as mentioned above, there is a possibility that a person will grow his or her tolerance with the painkillers that can lead to addiction.

This does not necessarily mean that a person could be "hooked" right to prescription drugs right away. The addiction, instead, builds up as one's tolerance grows stronger over time. Some people who become insatiable of their current prescription painkillers opt to look for more powerful substance such as marijuana, and eventually, heroin.

"When we talk about heroin addiction, we usually, as we have mentioned, are talking about individuals that started out with a prescription drug problem, and then because they need more and more, they turn to heroin," Lynch explained. "In so many cases, it isn't trafficking rings that introduce a person to opioids. It's the household medicine cabinet. That's the source."

According to this new study, more than 50 percent of women in Ontario, Canada are treated for their opioid addiction. The study revealed that these women started their addiction from taking opioid-based substances also found in some prescription drugs.

In the U.S. alone, mortality rates of white Americans between ages 25 to 34 is raising, and this is not good news. Opioid-related overdose deaths in the U.S. are reportedly "spiraling out of control" because of the deadly combination of heroin and prescription drugs that have morphine, oxycodone and other opioid substances.

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