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How the Heroin Epidemic is Affecting Rehab Centers

There has been a sharp rise in the number of heroin addicts since 2012, and the effects are being felt at rehab centers nationwide. Since 2012, heroin deaths have risen by 39 percent. Where are the new heroin addicts coming from? Surprisingly, they are suburban parents, teens, and young professionals. Many become addicted to prescription opiates and turn to heroin as a less expensive, more powerful high. With the internet and cell phones making it easy to order heroin on-demand, more people are becoming addicted to this potent, highly-addictive drug. The CDC reports that 45 percent of people who turn to heroin do so after being on prescription painkillers. Prescription Painkillers Linked to Heroin Prescription painkillers are among the most prescribed drugs in America. Doctors and dentists shifted their method of treating pain as newer, more effective, and easier-to-obtain drugs became available. Now, prescriptions are offered to patients who need treatment for migraine headache pain, chronic pain, surgical pain, and other types of pain management. Prescription pain medicines are opiates. This means they act upon one or more of the four opiate receptors found in the human body. These receptors both block the way pain signals are perceived and relax the user. It is very easy to become addicted to prescription painkillers. Over time, however, they can be difficult to obtain. Many people turn to heroin as a cheaper yet effective method of satisfying their body’s cravings for opiates. Heroin is a very dangerous drug. Too much can shut down the central nervous system and stop your breathing. Sharing the drug via needles can lead to infection at the injection site, Hepatitis C, or HIV/AIDS. The rise in prescriptions written for painkillers has led to a whole new slew of problems with drugs that doctors never intended. Pressure on Rehab Centers As more people become addicted to prescription medicines and heroin, the number of rehab centers nationwide hasn’t grown to accommodate the influx of clients. NBC news reports that some people are so desperate for help with their heroin addiction, they’ll do just about anything. For instance, one woman requested that a judge sentence her to jail just so she could get clean. Waiting times of several months to over a year to get treatment at a rehab facility aren’t uncommon nationwide. Additional pressure comes from the Obama Administration. The President has made it clear he would prefer people with heroin problems receive treatment rather than jail time for drug use. Law enforcement’s efforts are aimed at stopping drug trafficking and drying up the sources of heroin rather than punishing users. Many approve this shift in tone, but the corresponding increase in the number of rehab centers and funding to offset the cost of rehab isn’t available. The result is a sharp rise in demand for services without a corresponding rise in available counselors, therapists, and facilities. Get Help Now Even though there is a rise in demand for services, The Ranch PA always welcomes new clients. We offer healing from heroin addiction and recovery services for drug and alcohol addiction. Call us at [phone] for more information about our services. Photo via

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