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Why Do People Use Heroin?

How People Get Hooked on Heroin

Perhaps one of the most infamous examples of illicitly used drugs is heroin. This powerful opiate has been the focus of endless features of popular media, from television to film and even music. Still, there is some mystery that shrouds this substance for those who have never come into contact with it. But why do people use heroin? Banyan’s Pompano Beach treatment center answers this question and more.


The New Faces of Heroin Addiction

First and foremost, it is important to understand more about the majority of people who use this drug and why they opt for such a dangerously addictive substance. New research shows the profile of the average heroin addict—and how he or she got that way—is changing.

Fifty years ago, heroin came into widespread use across the country. Back then, the average user was:

  • Poor
  • Urban
  • Adolescent (on average, use started at age 16)

Today, the average heroin user is:

  • Wealthy
  • Suburban
  • Young adult (on average, use started at age 23)


When heroin was popular in the past, it was often the first opiate the user had ever experimented with. Today, nearly half of all heroin addicts started their opiate use with prescription pills. Increasingly, more of those same users became hooked on pills after their doctor prescribed them for a legitimate medical condition.

Prescription Painkillers Become Harder to Get

The problem for opiate addicts is prescription drugs are expensive and are becoming harder to get. New legislation on both the state and federal levels has drastically reduced the supply of prescription drugs. Most states now have prescription drug monitoring programs that take aim at doctors who over-prescribe medicines and patients who trick doctors into giving them more medicine than they need or more than is safe.

Drug companies have participated in the fight against painkiller abuse, too. One of the most commonly abused drugs, OxyContin, was recently reformulated to make abusing the drug more difficult. While this is a positive advancement in the realm of pharmaceutical development, this drug previously left many people struggling to get their fix, so much so that they resorted to desperate measures.

Heroin Fills Void Left by Prescription Drugs

In the face of a changing drug market, many addicts have turned to heroin for their fix. Heroin can be several times cheaper than prescription drugs. With opiates, more drugs are needed to get the same effects as time goes on. As a result, price is an important concern for people with addiction. The lack of medical regulations also places a much greater level of control into the user’s hands. Before, these people were at the mercy of doctors and pharmacies, although some patients became skilled at cheating the system.

In the case of illicit drugs, the only person that a heroin addict needs to answer to is their dealer, who will care about profit over all else. This means that they will continue to sell to a person until it is too late. Opiate addiction is so powerful that many experts believe controlling the supply of drugs is not enough. Once people get hooked, they will go to great lengths to get their next fix.

How Do People Do Heroin?

Today’s heroin is purer than it was in the past, making it possible for users to either snort or smoke the drug. Intravenous needles pose a psychological barrier for many people. With that barrier removed, abuse has risen. Still, there are people who prefer to inject it as a way to experience a more intense rush. No matter how a person chooses to take the drug, they run the risk of developing a tolerance, growing addicted, and even overdosing if their use is not addressed.

How Do People on Heroin Act?

This drug can cause users to act in a number of unusual ways, including exhibiting signs of euphoria, depression, and severe mood swings between the two. This can be attributed to the fact that the higher a person is, the harder the comedown will be. It also explains the prevalence of tolerance buildups for users of heroin. Tolerance refers to the need to use more of a substance each time of use to experience the desired effects. Tolerance is a slippery slope to a slew of other consequences, many of which the average user won’t prioritize over obtaining their desired high.

Answer to the Crisis? Quality Heroin Addiction Treatment

Our Pompano Beach drug rehab recognizes the complexities involved with breaking a heroin addiction. We’ve worked hard to answer the question, “why do people use heroin?” as a means of practicing empathy and understanding in our treatment approach. Once this understanding is achieved, the next step is providing effective addiction programs and therapies to help address the issues which lead people to abuse heroin in the first place.

For anyone who struggles with this drug, remember that time is not on your side. It’s best to seek heroin addiction treatment as soon as possible. Call our Broward County drug rehab at 888-280-4763 and speak with an intake specialist today.


  1. CDC – Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) 

Related Reading:

How Does Heroin Affect the Brain?

Signs of Heroin Addiction

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.