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Heroin Addiction Epidemic

Heroin Addiction Epidemic Continues To Effect Major Cities

As reported on sacbee.com(1) , Americans are fighting an explosive rise in heroin use and heroin addiction. States are trying to shift from punishment to drug treatment.
In Los Angeles, for example, people are waking up to the fact the drugs are not just hurting the user. Heroin use is putting family, friends and communities under pressure as well. Local politicians and civilian authorities are rapidly arriving at the conclusion that it is better to treat someone than throw them in jail. The costs associated with jail time alone justify the exploration of state wide treatment programs.

Heroin Use Is Exploding

More people are dying from opiate overdoses than from car accidents today! In 2010, 38,329 people died from an overdose compared to 33,687 traffic fatalities. In comparison, 31, 672 were killed by firearms(2). Heroin is more readily available and cheaper than other opiates. Heroin is spreading rapidly from big cities to small towns. The purity of heroin is also much higher than of previous decades.

Heroin Is Not Just For “City Slickers”

Heroin used to be isolated to small inner city locations but that is no longer the case. Gangs and dealers have found new methods of transportation and distribution which is making heroin readily available to even the most remote locations of the United States.  The potency of heroin has increased dramatically causing users to become addicted even faster than before. Addicts who are looking to score another hit are quickly resorting to a life of crime to support their habit. The result is a direct correlation between heroin addiction rates and crime rates across the country. Theft usually starts at home and quickly spreads into the communities.

Do Heroin Addicts Belong In Jail?

Throwing a heroin addict into jail is not a reasonable form of drug treatment. When a drug addict is thrown directly in jail the addict will have cravings through their entire sentence and the probability of a relapse is extremely strong. Most opiate addicts should get immediate treatment prior to sentencing. This is a win-win for both the communities and the legislators. By sending addicts directly into drug treatment the addict and communities will be much better off. Communities and localities will save countless dollars by staving off jail and continued jail and legal expenses while the communities get their clean streets back. Homeowners do contest having treatment centers in their communities but when the crime rate drops and less people are on the streets, homeowners feel satisfied that tax dollars are being put to good use.

Proper Heroin Treatment is Critical

Across the United States, places like Massachusetts, Florida and California are fighting the good fight. Like other states, they understand the importance of getting a drug addict under the supervision of proper medical guidance. Opiates are dangerous and usually require a drug detox phase to remove all impurities from the mind and body so treatment can begin successfully.  States are carefully choosing evidence based treatment centers which focus on an individualized approach for their clients.

Reference Sources (1) & (2): www.sacbee.com

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More