Wide availability and a high cheaper and more intense than “gateway” prescription drugs, heroin is back and stronger than ever. According to the Detroit News, surrounding suburbs are seeing a dramatic rise in deaths associated with the drug while the metro area isn’t seeing any noticeable fluctuation at all. And those hardest hit seem to be the young.
Since 2003, the number of “young people” (ages 18-29) seeking heroin treatment from state sponsored programs has doubled. In Genesee County at Community Mental Health, treatment of heroin addiction among this age group has grown six fold.
Puzzling is that the drug is hitting suburban young adults the hardest. It could be with the growing abuse of prescription drugs in these environments that heroin is the next step, a more potent high. Sources say these aren’t your typical “troubled” youth and instead are kids who used to be popular and get good grades.
In 2007 10 young people died of heroin overdoses in Pinckney, one of which was a varsity athlete who had just received his diploma. In the last three years close to 10,000 people sought heroin treatment in state sponsored agencies.
The director of substance abuse services for Genesee County Community Mental Health claims the drug has lost some of its “mystique”. She also states that trends show drugs to wax and wane in popularity, growing when it’s most highly available and then falling again when deaths and overdoses start to become commonplace.
Another worrisome thought, heroin is much more potent now than it was when it first became popular decades ago. It’s said to be 20-50% pure, compared with 3-5% pure in the sixties. That’s quite a climb and something certainly contributing to the overdoses and deaths.
Heroin addiction is notoriously difficult to kick. The withdrawals experienced by someone who is truly addicted can cause illness and even extreme pain. It’s typically something that can’t be handled by an individual without some help.
Often, when an addict is arrested for possession or another criminal charge, it’s the only opportunity they have to get help. Because the state and local jurisdictions want people off drugs, there are some resources to assist those facing charges and addicted to drugs.
Depending on the charge you are facing and the jurisdiction you are charged in, you could receive treatment as part of probation or you could be diverted into another sentencing alternative.
If you are facing drug charges or if you are accused of a crime and are addicted to drugs, contact our offices today. We can discuss the options available to you and how we might be able to help.