It shouldn’t come as a major shock that the heroin problem seems to have reappeared with a vengeance when dependency on opioids is turning into the increasingly popular drugs of choice. A drug that may have a myriad of nicknames (“Oxys”, “blues”, etc) but what’s more officially known as OxyContin seems to be the major influence leading up to heroin addiction. Though to most OxyContin users it may seem like an innocent recreational drug habit, in reality it’s actually one of the stepping stones toward a heroin-curious mentality. The reason behind this being that the nature of either drug is the same: the drug attaches to the opioid receptors in the brain releasing a euphoria of such potency that will almost guarantee to hook the user. The problem is that the high heroin provides is an extremely intensified version of OxyContin. It has a reputation to boot. This glamorized reputation surrounding heroin is the insidious magnet that attracts. The heroin-curious mentality is compounded by the fact that tolerance to opioids builds at an uncomfortably speedy rate. This soon becomes quite an unnerving predicament for the garden-variety OxyContin user.
Opiates Leading to Heroin Use
There’s a few other opioids that I feel are worth mentioning. The first one being Percocets. The ingredients in a Percocet are Oxycodone and Acetaminophen (the main ingredient in Tylenol). Though it may be regarded as mere prescription medication by some, it is normally yet another substance to be abused among the string of opioids an addict will encounter on their course to an eventual heroin addiction.
Another one is Vicodin, a pain medication that can be habit forming even at prescribed doses. The Vicodin user gets addicted quite abruptly and, just like the aforementioned drug abuses, it will lead to heroin seeming like the only answer when faced with the issue of premature tolerance.
When all else fails, and usually as a last resort before heroin, Morphine is the dominant recurring alternative. In order to avoid withdrawal symptoms the person will usually turn to heroin. This will occur with all the opiates mentioned, but in the case of a Morphine IV it’s a much more intense and painful withdrawal problem. The withdrawal symptoms are sweating, chills, vomiting, muscle aches, etc. A contributing factor to these pain medications leading to heroin abuse has to do with the fact that heroin is not only cheaper to get but easier to buy as well.
Cocaine is another drug which is commonly linked to heroin addiction. On the surface it might seem as though cocaine users would differ culturally from heroin users. This isn’t always the case, as the dangerous habit known as “speedballing” has been gaining popularity among the druggie scenes of especially urban areas. Speedballing is when a user combines both cocaine and heroin in a syringe to intravenously shoot up in order to counteract the negative effects of either drug while maintaining the desired sensations. The cocaine reduces the sedation and overall drowsiness from heroin, as the heroin tones down the anxiety and paranoia effects unwanted from cocaine. This is a potentially lethal combination linked to a pretty long list of celebrity deaths, including John Belushi’s death where the original term for speedballing known as “Belushi balls” came from.
To conclude, the five drugs which have give way to the heroin epidemic are as follows: 1) OxyContin, 2) Percocets, 3) Vicodin, 4) Morphine and 5) cocaine. These drugs, though mainly prescription pain meds, are major contributors due to their addictive qualities and reputations for vibrating on a similar frequency as heroin.