The Growing United States Heroin Epidemic

phillipWith the very recent death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the media is shining a bright light on heroin use in the United States. Unfortunately, Hoffman is not the only person in the United States suffering from addiction to this substance. The use of heroin is on the rise and too many people are dying as a result.

Why Heroin Use is Increasing in the United States

Heroin is becoming more and more popular in the drug using community because of its accessibility and increased potency. Through trial and error, drug traffickers have found that by mixing heroin with other medications, the high one can achieve is much more potent and can last much longer.

However, by mixing heroin with other substances it increases the possibility of overdose. Because heroin is released directly into the circulatory system, the body will almost immediately feel its effects. This means that the body can almost immediately stop breathing, circulating blood or carrying messages from the brain to other parts of the body, resulting in fatal overdose.

Another possible reason for the increased use of heroin in the United States may have something to do with the accessibility of the drug. The United States has been making major headway on cracking down on “pill mills” which make prescription drugs available to addicts. Because the government has been cracking down on prescription drug abuse and crack cocaine use, users are now looking for alternate drugs to abuse.

Additionally, the legalization of marijuana may be increasing the use of heroin in the United States as well. By making marijuana legal, the public opinion of young people has changed as to the dangers of drug use. If marijuana is actually safe enough to be legal in some states, then might it be possible that these other drugs aren’t that bad either? This thinking is getting more and more people addicted to drugs every day and leading to an epidemic of heroin and other addictive drug use.

The Dangers of Heroin Use

Heroin comes from the same basic substances as Oxycontin and Vicodin. These drugs send a signal to the brain to shut down the parts of the body, which feel pain. They cause slowed breathing and reaction speed. The most common reason for overdose, however, is respiratory failure.

Prescription painkillers are legally prescribed to help with a patient’s pain, but they are just as addictive and dangerous as heroin. The difference is that prescription painkillers are distributed in a pharmacy and are more expensive and harder to get your hands on without a doctor’s prescription. When someone becomes addicted to prescription pain medication, heroin use is a natural stepping stone away. It is a drug that will give a similar high but does not usually cost as much and can be found easier on the black market.

Not Using in the First Place

The most effective way to prevent heroin use and abuse is complete abstinence. Heroin can be addictive after one use and a simple experiment may lead to a lifetime of addiction and sorrow. Having the proper education about the drug and its dangers is an effective way to prevent this outcome. It is surprising how many people are ignorant of the dangers that come with using heroin even once.

The professionals at Narconon Freedom Center would like nothing more than to see the United States be completely drug free. Even if your loved one’s use of heroin hasn’t grown into a raging problem yet, it is best to seek help before it gets worse.


Huffington Post: Philip Seymour Hoffman Death Spotlights Heroin Epidemic

CBS Denver: Heroin Use, Deaths On The Rise In Middle Class America

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