Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Actor's death underscores heroin's resurgence

The recent death of an actor highlights the growing problem of heroin use when prescription drug abusers turn to heroin for easier access:

From USA Today

Glee actor Cory Monteith's death from a combination of heroin and alcohol underscores alarming increases in heroin overdose that may be fueled by growing addictions to prescription painkillers....

Police nationwide report to DEA that young adults who are addicted to the prescription painkillers turn to cheaper heroin when they can't afford or can't find the pills, Leonhart said. Pharmaceutical companies have been reformulating pills so they can't be crushed, and a growing number of states have been cracking down on doctors and pharmacies that improperly distribute the painkillers.

Prescription painkillers are among the most commonly abused drugs in the United States and have similar effects to heroin. Recent research suggests that painkiller abuse can lead to heroin abuse. Nearly half of teens and young adults surveyed who inject heroin reported that they previously abused prescription painkillers, the National Institute on Drug Abuse said.