What caused the heroin epidemic?

Every day you hear about people dying due to heroin in South Carolina. It may make you wonder how so many people started using such a dangerous drug and continued to the point of addiction. It all leads back to the overprescribing and overuse of prescription opioids. Heroin is cheaper and easier to get opioid that provides the same feeling or high as the prescription alternative.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the opioid abuse issue began in the last 1990s. Pharmaceutical companies wanted to sell more prescription opioids. They pushed their agenda that these drugs were not addictive and not harmful so that doctors began prescribing them more often and in larger quantities. This is when many people first began using the drugs.

It didn't take long for medical professionals to see the error in the pharmaceutical companies claims. People did get addicted and they did so quickly. Abuse was rampant. More recently, the medical field and the government has started restricting the prescription of this class of drug. This means it is more difficult to get even with a valid reason.

Because prescription opioids are more difficult to get access to, people turned to a cheaper and more accessible option: heroin. Now the opioid problem is a public health crisis. It causes death due to overdose, infection and disease. It also causes severe economic hardship for the government due to costs associated with productivity loss, treatment, criminal justice and healthcare costs. This information is not legal advice. It is for education only.

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