The illegal prescription drug trade has done wonders for the heroin trade as well. Cheaper and easier to find than prescription opiates, heroin use is on the rise in Detroit suburbs and even among kids as young as 15, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Just three years ago, heroin addiction accounted for about 9 or 10% of all treatment admissions in Macomb County. Now, it’s more like half, replacing alcohol as the top addiction in that county. Agencies in Oakland and Wayne counties also say they’ve noticed a dramatic uptick in heroin addiction admissions, and that these addictions often begin with opiates like Vicodin and OxyContin.
Nine people have overdosed on heroin in Warren since the fall, and 54 arrests have been made in three months for heroin-related charges. The town has added 2 undercover officers to deal solely on heroin cases.
Heroin is now the “primary drug of choice” in areas like this, according to Oakland County chief of substance abuse services Christina Nicholas, who also points to prescription opiates as the root of the problem.
Prescription opiates are highly addictive and are often prescribed following a major injury. But there comes a point when these drugs can get harder and harder to find. On the street, you have to pay as much as $80 per pill. Heroin, on the other hand, is dirt cheap and easy to find, leading one recovering addict to say, “heroin is more accessible than marijuana.”
According to the Free Press, heroin abuse is difficult to track, so there’s no telling just how prevalent it is. While overdoses seem like a logical method of tracking high usage, hospitals rarely say what drug caused an overdose and data from private hospitals and treatment programs are unavailable.
Heroin addiction often isn’t handled until the addict is arrested of overdoses, and sometimes even that isn’t enough of a wake-up call. Heroin is so incredibly addictive, that many lose their friends, families, jobs, and homes before vowing to change things.
An arrest for heroin possession provides people with an opportunity to get clean, if they are ready. Whether through drug court participation or probation with a treatment requirement, the courts often make treatment available to people who wouldn’t be able to afford a free drug treatment program.
If you are accused of a heroin crime, from possession to distribution, we may be able to help. Contact our offices today to discuss the details of your case.