Did the Oxycodone Addiction Epidemic Lead to the Heroin Addiction Pandemic?
The painkiller oxycodone is a very strong medication used to treat acute to severe pain. Even though dependence on the drug is expected with daily use, addiction is primarily characterized by the psychological symptoms. The oxycodone addiction epidemic started around 2007 and Oxycodone addiction in the USA hit a tipping point in 2012 with several authorities cracking down on doctors and pill mills around the country. These crackdowns only lead to a temporary ease and comfort only to open the door to a heroin addiction pandemic of epic proportion.
It’s 2017 and the numbers of overdoses for the year 2016 are so staggering that even the leading research entities like NIDA and other local government agencies are balking. The
statistics on overdoses have hit such an epic proportion that NARCAN the lifesaving drug for overdose is given freely without prescription. Even if they could provide accurate numbers of the number of overdoses in the US, they couldn’t possibly have accounted for them all. In some cities coroner’s offices need freezer trucks for the body’s because they can’t keep up.
Throughout the course of 2016 we saw headline like “Drug overdose deaths pushed to another record high in Ohio” and “Heroin’s Death Toll Hits an All-Time High in New York” or “South Florida’s opioid overdose crisis: At least 800 expected to die by …”
When is it going to STOP?!!!
How did it start?!!!
Who’s to blame???
Oxycodone Addiction in the USA – Is that what caused this?
The trend started to take hold when addicts caught wind that doctors were writing prescriptions of oxycodone for pain management. Addicts and dealers flocked in droves to receive their prescriptions for oxycodone, possibly unknowing of its addictive potential. This led to oxycodone addiction in the USA reaping havoc in households all over the country. Even if they were in the know, no one knew how fast its popularity would rise…
Soon you heard of teenagers and kids in high school being admitted into treatment for oxycodone. The National Institute of Drug Addiction started tracking the numbers of overdoses and they were practically doubling every year.
Parent’s and Family’s Cried Out, “It’s an Oxycodone Addiction Epidemic” eventually being called, “The Prescription Painkiller Epidemic.”
By 2008 – 2009 several families and loved ones had lost so much life it was a mass devastation. Treatment centers throughout the country couldn’t provide enough beds for addicts to fill. Oxycodone addiction treatment options were limited at best. Insurance company’s like Medicare and Medicaid had only focused on alcoholism addiction treatment in years prior so when people tried to get into treatment they were either turned away or told to cash pay at local addiction treatment facilities.
Was there an end to this madness, everyone wondered?…
Soon the local governments had no choice, but to act after the uproar of news, media, and families of those struggling with the addiction to oxycodone. US Senators were admitting themselves into treatment for the narcotic painkiller. Celebrities were dying left and right from prescription drug overdoses.
Some saw no hope in sight, only to see the light at the end of the tunnel when news headlines started reading, “Huntsville ‘pill mill’ doctor sentenced to prison for fraud and illegal…” and “Doctor sentenced to prison for selling opiate prescriptions” or “Southern California doctor sentenced in overdose deaths.”
These headlines started popping up everywhere, New Jersey, New York, Florida and many other places throughout the country.
Soon enough you heard of people turning to heroin to get their fix shortly after the crack down on “Pill Mill” doctors. Heroin addiction started an upheaval of epic proportion by 2013 and before long every other day you heard of a family member or friend that had a death in the family from a heroin overdose.
Judges Locked Doctors up and threw away the key for contributing to the devastation oxycodone addiction in USA caused…
By 2014 you heard a lot less about prescription painkillers and a lot more about a “Heroin Addiction Pandemic.”
The Oxycodone Addiction Epidemic that led to the Heroin Addiction Pandemic
Towards the end of 2014 and into 2015 all the sudden you start seeing mind boggling numbers of overdoses increasing by the months and years. People started to panic, not knowing what to do. The need drug addiction treatment goes up to where there are no available beds for people seeking treatment for heroin addiction. Newspapers are publishing pictures with 1000’s of the faces of lives lost to overdoses from heroin to attract readers. Grandmas and Grandpas are saying to each other, “What a shame for this generation!” Only to get a call the next day their grandchild fell victim to the insidious insanity that is heroin addiction.
It’s 2017 and there’s no end in sight…
Here we have ourselves at the year 2017, Florida Governor Rick Scott is unsure as to whether this is a state of emergency or not, while New Jersey governor Chris Christie is stepping up his game to provide resources for addiction treatment and help lines for addicts and families.
If this were a football game, you’d say, “we’ve fumbled.” We have lost so much life from the influx of Fentanyl laced heroin, the numbers could make you cry. Parents have lost sons and daughters and brothers and sisters have lost brothers and sisters.
The reality of this depravity makes the most egocentric of alpha males say “I love you” to their male friends for fear of losing them by the next day.
What can we do? What is the solution? Are there any heroin addiction or oxycodone addiction treatment options that work?
Many states started increasing financial support of heroin addiction and oxycodone addiction treatment options with methadone maintenance and Suboxone programs. Unfortunately, this only prolonged the underlying issue due to the addict’s nature, they soon found that people on maintenance programs were abusing other drugs while taking their doses of maintenance meds.
What many addiction treatment providers don’t address is the behavioral issue that becomes the nature of the addicted individual. The individual isn’t addicted to the drug itself, but the effect of it. So, treating them with a drug that has the potential to do the same thing increases the risks of relapse. However, one treatment option that has worked several times over for many addicts and alcoholics is (CBT) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This type of therapy addresses a persons impulsive thoughts and actions. The goal of CBT therapy is to change their habitual patterns to new healthy ones. However, it only works on people who are willing to participate, and have a strong desire for change.
The Two Most Popular Heroin and Oxycodone Addiction Treatment Options
- Psychotherapy – This type of therapy can sometimes involve group or family counseling and in many cases, is targeted to toward the affected individual seeking help for the addiction. However, there is no one-size-fits all therapy. Typically, the therapy will be customized based on the individual’s needs.
- Opiate replacement therapy – Medication is also a popular method of treatment for people addicted to oxycodone and heroin. Treatment Programs providing naltrexone, buprenorphine, or methadone help opiate addicts wean off harder drugs and maintain chemical balance in the brain.
Finding Heroin and Oxycodone Addiction Treatment Options
Finding heroin and oxycodone addiction treatment options is extremely important, and thankfully there are several sources of help. Resources and techniques vary, so people who are addicted to oxycodone or heroin can find the one they are most comfortable with.
|· Licensed clinical social workers|
· Trusted religious leaders
· Community centers
|· General physicians|
· Mental health professionals
· Psychiatrists and psychologists
National hotlines – The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment helps addicts with initiatives and programs from experts and research findings that a community-based approached that offers comprehensive services is the best method for most addicts. CSAT can be reached on 240-276-1660. Or, you can call the National Drug Abuse Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP to be connected with SAMHSA approved treatment centers in your city or state.
If you or your family is struggling with alcoholism or addiction, please reach out and ask for help.
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About the Writer, Peter D.
Peter Dimaira is the online researcher and writer for Bright Futures Recovery Center. Peter has years of experience in journalism and joined the Bright Futures team to spread awareness about addiction, alcoholism and provide better resources on the treatment of drugs and alcohol.