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"It starts with scrip" – the story of two states and a raging epidemic

April 8, 2014 12:30 pm Published by Comments Off on "It starts with scrip" – the story of two states and a raging epidemic

Read two articles about how Rx and heroin use have ravaged areas in two states — New Jersey and Vermont.

“There was just no way I could afford $30 to $35 per pill for OxyContin. So switching to heroin, which all my friends were getting for $5 a stamp — about the equivalent of one pill — was really easy.”

An addict tells the story of the “graduation” to heroin from prescription opiates in the eye-opening article from VICE News, A Heroin Epidemic Is Plaguing New Jersey.

According to sources quoted in the article, New Jersey is host to unusually pure and affordable heroin, as the state is an import zone for oversea drugs to enter the US. Accessibility and affordably are helping to fuel increased use in many areas across the state.

As prescription drug abusers’ addictions increase, their need for drugs can outstrip the supply for pills prescribed to them by dirty doctors, or by purchasing them on the street. As heroin provides a similar high and often is cheaper to buy and easier to find, many users begin to go down that path.

Prevention and treatment efforts, as well as local legislation, is struggling to catch up with the rapidly growing epidemic. Read the full article

Heroin’s corrosive reputation was diminished by the fact that everyone compared it to a drug she’d already tried: “It’s like oxys,” she kept hearing, “only cheaper.”

A teenage addict related her story about trying heroin for the first time (touted as easier and cheaper to obtain than Rx drug), only to overdose and nearly die during that very first time, Rolling Stone reports.

Like New Jersey, prescription drug use turns to abuse, turns to heroin use in Vermont. The increase in numbers of opiate-related deaths, addictions and incarcerations are staggering for such a seemingly bucolic area. The heroin trade is managed by highly-organized gang syndicates, running the trade throughout the state.

Vermont’s governor Peter Shumlin has been raising awareness of the crisis. “What started as an OxyContin and prescription-drug-addiction problem in Vermont has now grown into a full-blown heroin crisis,” he said this past January.

Ventura County, too, is suffering from increasing numbers of heroin users — as well as opiate related crimes and health crises, especially often-fatal overdoses.  And, like the suburban or rural areas of New Jersey or Vermont, it just doesn’t seem real that something so dangerous and illicit can be available to our populations, including our young people.