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OxyContin: The New Gateway Drug to Heroin
We’ve all read about marijuana being a “gateway drug” to more dangerously addictive drugs, such as cocaine and crack, or methamphetamine, or narcotics like heroin and morphine.
The new “gateway drug”, especially to heroin, is the prescription narcotic OxyContin, and its active opioid ingredient, oxycodone.
In cities, towns and even rural areas all across America, heroin addiction is a growing problem. Even in communities where there was previously little or no heroin abuse, say law enforcement officials, the notorious illicit street drug is now becoming more and more familiar, and the need for local heroin detox programs continues to grow.
The common denominator in all these communities, according to recent studies, is the proliferation of OxyContin addiction and abuse (heroin’s legal opioid cousin). This prescription narcotic is so chemically similar to heroin that, for addicts and abusers, they are virtually interchangeable.
But what is not interchangeable is the price, says enforcement. A hit of heroin is a fraction of the cost of the same high from OxyContin (or oxycodone). Prescription narcotics generally sell on the illicit street market at around $1 per milligram. A one-time high from an 80 milligram oxycodone pill for an experienced user would run roughly $80.
Heroin, on the other hand, sells in many areas for around $100 a gram. Depending on a user’s tolerance level (long-time users need more per dose) a gram can deliver up to 20 doses, or highs. In other words, it’s vastly less expensive to get and stay stoned on heroin than OxyContin.
That’s what is driving OxyContin addicts away from their tidy, predictably-measured and reliably-pure prescription OxyContin, to the infinitely more unpredictable and dangerous heroin.
We say heroin is more dangerous only in this one aspect: unlike laboratory-pure and laboratory-measured pharmaceuticals like OxyContin, heroin is usually mixed, or cut, with unknown and sometimes toxic substances. This renders both its strength, and its level of toxicity, unknown until after you’ve tried it — and possibly died in minutes.
These danger factors of heroin are more important to newer users, who lack the street experience and contacts to know before they go shooting it into their veins.
In all other respects, the two drugs are largely the same — this is not laboratory data, but reliably gathered from patients at OxyContin detox centers who have tried them both.
In Florida, OxyContin detox is a high-demand service at Novus Medical Detox Center in Pasco County. The blurring of the lines between OxyContin and heroin has been evident for some time. We can expect to see even more evidence of the migration from expensive OxyContin addiction to the less costly heroin addiction as time passes.
Legitimate OxyContin prescriptions are leading to heroin
A survey of 75 detox patients last summer, by researchers at the University of Buffalo, NY, found that 40 percent became dependent and addicted while taking legitimate opioid prescriptions. Almost all of them — 92 percent — said they eventually began buying illegal drugs, usually heroin, because of its much lower cost.
Another researcher, from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, has been following this problem in Washington. Back in 2009, he reported that a survey showed 39 percent of heroin addicts in the state got started using a prescription opioid. Of course, OxyContin was very likely among those prescription painkillers that led to heroin.
The Epidemiology Research Branch of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a division of the Institutes of Health, is studying the heroin subculture that is growing and expanding out of prescription painkillers such as OxyContin. An ongoing analysis of police databases shows a definite increase in heroin abuse in smaller cities across the country.
The police log drug seizures in the databases, and from 2000 to 2009, there has been a 10-fold increase in prescription drugs — clear evidence to back up the recent claims of a “prescription drug epidemic” in America.
But pharmaceuticals aren’t the only increasing problem that is evidenced in the police databases. During the same period, heroin abuse and addiction, which was already at alarming levels, more than doubled — especially in smaller towns. This evidence tells the NIDA epidemiologists that the heroin problem is growing and spreading, just like any contagious disease.
And it has followed directly on the heels of the shocking upsurge in prescription drug addiction to opioids like OxyContin.
A University of Washington physician, commenting on these developments, was quoted in the media recently saying that the trend to heroin may accelerate even more in years to come. The FDA has been developing a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for long-acting opioids, and will release expanded restrictions on prescription opioid painkiller prescribing. This cannot help but push street prices of prescription drugs such as OxyContin even higher.
Novus medical OxyContin detox is faster and more comfortable
A medical OxyContin detox program at Novus Medical Detox Center delivers a faster, more comfortable and more effective end to the cravings for OxyContin. Novus detox programs are tailored to match each patient’s unique health needs and substance abuse history. OxyContin detox at Novus has become widely popular for several essential reasons:
- PERSONAL Novus OxyContin detox is tailored for each patient’s metabolism and physical circumstances. Patients receive personal care and attention around the clock from well-trained and experienced OxyContin detox specialists.
- COMFORT Novus OxyContin detox is safe and effective, but is also more comfortable than other detox methods. Novus OxyContin detox purifies the body in ways that significantly reduce withdrawal symptoms.
- CONFIDENTIALITY Novus OxyContin detox offers privacy and confidentiality and individual private or comfortable shared rooms. Our 3.5-acre gated facility is a peaceful sanctuary where your recovery comes first.
- HEALTH Novus OxyContin detox makes you healthier than when you arrived, because our advanced protocols include nutritional IVs, vitamins, amino acids, mineral supplements and delicious, healthful cuisine.
- YOU LEAVE SOONER Novus OxyContin detox is faster, and without the major withdrawal symptoms, of other programs. Novus OxyContin detox speeds the healing process, and puts you on your way home sooner.
NOTE: This information is provided for general educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute (i) medical advice or counseling, (ii) the practice of medicine, health care diagnosis or treatment, or (iii) the creation of a physician patient or clinical relationship. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or that this information may be useful to you or others, please consult with your health care provider before applying any information from our articles to your personal situation or to the personal situation of others.
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