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According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, heroin use has dramatically increased in the past five years and in particularly between 2013 and 2014. Increased demand for heroin is largely being driven by a subset of prescription drug abusers switching to heroin because heroin is more available and less expensive. Also, some OxyContin® abusers switched to heroin after the reformulation of that drug made it more difficult to abuse.
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According to the National Center for Health Statistics (CDC), 80% of new heroin users abused prescription drugs; in particular, pain relievers. Once people are addicted to prescription drugs, they often switch to heroin because it’s cheaper and easier to get. Most teens addicted to prescription, opiate-based drugs say they would never use heroin. But as their addiction requires more and more drugs to maintain the same high, and soon they run out of supply. They turn to heroin as an alternative. At first, teens often resort to only “sniffing” heroin. Sniffing quickly changes to injecting the drug with a needle because the effects of heroin are more powerful and results in a quicker high.
After marijuana use, prescription drug abuse is the second most abused drug in the United States. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 12 years and older, prescription drug abuse continues to be misused at an alarming level in the United States. Here are some examples: • Pain relievers: second only to marijuana use, abused by 4.3 million people within the past 30 days• Tranquilizers: abused by 1.9 million people within the past 30 days• Stimulants: abused by 1.6 million people within the past 30 days
Adderall® is the most abused drug, after marijuana use, by 12th graders (annual use) according to the Monitoring the Future Survey in 2014. Adderall® is a stimulant drug that, when abused and taken non-medically, can lead to addiction and tolerance which requires the person to take more and more of the drug. As addiction occurs, teens and young adults eventually abandon Adderall® and use a more powerful, stronger, and more available stimulant drug such as methamphetamine.
Synthetic drugs are made to mimic traditional drugs of abuse such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, PCP, and others. Different synthetic drug compounds are being discovered and distributed in our neighborhoods and community weekly. These synthetic drugs are made clandestinely, mostly in foreign countries with no standards or inspections. Often, these drugs vary in strength and composition and can be very dangerous to the user. Overdose and death are likely since these drugs are not approved for human consumption.
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