Ohio’s pill epidemic fuels heroin abuse

Prescription drug abuse in Ohio has reached epidemic levels, and that is driving many painkiller addicts to make the switch to heroin because it is cheaper and readily available, according to a recent report by the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network. Many heroin users started using the hardcore street drug at around 18 years old after getting hooked on prescription opioids at as young as 12, the report says. Heroin is being pushed aggressively by dealers and is so prevalent that it is “falling out of the sky,” according to the report. Moreover, prescription painkillers like Opana and Roxicodone are gaining in popularity in light of the reformulation of OxyContin.

The report also includes participant comments that reveal the growing scope of the pills-to-heroin phenomenon in the state:

“[Heroin] is as common as going down the street and buying a six-pack of beer. I’m so glad I found heroin. It’s cheaper and easier to find than crack; it’s easier [to obtain] than oxys. You run out of oxys, but never heroin … it’s always around.”

“Ever since the oxy revolution, once they realize what oxy is, synthetic heroin, people find heroin is cheaper.”

“Kids are picking it [heroin] up real young…Kids saw pills as acceptable…they get hooked, then learn it’s cheaper to get heroin. [Heroin] used to be the last drug you get to, now it’s the first drug they get to.”

About Erin Marie Daly

I’m a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. My book on prescription drug and heroin addiction was published in August 2014 by Counterpoint Press.
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