South Florida Heroin Epidemic Takes Lives
Heroin abuse has overtaken prescription painkillers as Florida’s abusers’ drug of choice, sending more people to the hospital and the grave than at any point in recent memory.
The popularity of heroin is believed to stem from the abuse of prescription pills like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet. Recent efforts by the federal government and Florida’s state government have helped to put a choke-hold on prescription pills. However, the large number of opiate addicts that were created by prescription pill abuse are now searching for a new drug to replace the scarce and expensive prescription pills. The answer to this problem? Heroin.
A National Drug Problem Takes Local Lives
Heroin addiction and abuse is a growing problem across the United States, but in South Florida the problem is especially distinct. Experts have labeled the crisis an epidemic, as heroin overdose deaths have risen by 120% in Miami-Dade county between 2011 and 2012.
Having at one time been the prescription drug capital of America, Florida’s government enacted strict measures to battle the illegal trade of prescription opiates. One such measure was the prescription drug monitoring program, which has given Florida law enforcement the ability to track the flow of pills from local pain clinics, doctors’ offices, and pharmacies. These measures have greatly reduced the flow of prescription drugs in the state.
These measures strictly controlled the supply of opiates, but not the demand. As a result, Mexican drug cartels stepped in with heroin to fill the void.
New Heroin Brings New Users
This new heroin is of a much higher quality and purity than the previous brown powder and black tar heroin that had been available in Florida in the past. This new heroin is so pure that when taken directly, even a person who normally uses cut down heroin or prescription pills can easily overdose.
The Mexican heroin is pure enough that it can be snorted or even smoked. Because needles are not required for use, the demographic of heroin users is widening. In the past, the typical heroin user was overwhelmingly a young, urban male. Today, heroin abuse has been noted in:
- Young people
- Parents and adults
- People from all economic brackets.
In this trend of expanding demographics, the most troubling aspect is the increase of young people overdosing on the drug. Epidemiologist James N. Hall says of the heroin epidemic, “This problem is certainly going to get worse before it gets better.”
Help and Addiction Treatment Saves Lives
If you are struggling with heroin abuse, opiate addiction, or any other drug addiction, getting heroin treatment as soon as possible is the best way to save your life. Click here to learn more about getting sober in Florida.