Heroin The Health Crisis

Heroin Is Now Leading Cause Of Death For Americans Under The Age Of 50

The United States of America is experiencing a Health Crisis greater than any they have experienced in the nation’s history. The number of Americans who have died from opiate addiction in the last couple of year is greater than the number of Americans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. It is greater than the number of individuals who succumbed to HIV/AIDS during the epidemic in the year 1995.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, heroin addiction in white men between 18 and 45 years of age had doubled within the last ten years. In addition, about 586,000 of individuals 12 years and older suffer from heroin addiction in the country.

Understanding Heroin

Heroin is an addictive drug belonging to the opioid family. It is made from morphine, which is a substance that occurs naturally from the pod of opium poppy, popularly grown in Southern Asia. Initially, it was initially intended for pain relief but when consumed in high doses, it can cause euphoria, thus making it highly addictive.

Other than being addictive, it is extremely painful to detox from it. Detoxing is associated with jitter, shakes, severe pain, vomiting and nausea. Many attempt suicide while going through detoxification.

Dealing With the Problem

In an attempt to deal with the epidemic, many treatment and medical detox center have been established all over the U.S to help addicts through the emotionally and physically painful process of recovering from heroin addiction. The U.S government is also researching on new drugs that might be more effective in managing detox pain as well as helping addicts with their cravings.

As much as the U.S government through the DEA is focused to conducting drug bursts in opium dens, legal opiate addiction has not been properly addressed. Opioid prescriptions are given to Americans of all ages for treatment of all kinds of conditions from back surgery to toothaches. The prescription of opiates in the U.S. has quadrupled since the year 1999. Many addicts start off with these legal opioid prescriptions before turning to opium dens.

Truth be told, the current treatment options for heroin addiction have not been effective. Studies show that 70% to 90% of individuals who are treated for heroin addiction usually relapse thus increasing the risk of death from overdose. Narcan, is one of the drugs that has registered success in reversing the effects of heroine overdose. It is available over the counter and some believe that non-users can help save a life by having it in handy.

Perhaps the government needs to put in measures like it did during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This would see nurse care managers, social workers and outreach workers get deployed in a strategic manner that would ensure those in need get the substance abuse treatment they need. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) can authorize funding incentives such as accountable care establishments and health homes, which would help with the cost of treatment.

 

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