For years, heroin was viewed as the one drug that even the most daring drug users would never experiment with. Instead, users were getting into cocaine, meth, LSD and marijuana abuse. However, those days of that type of drug use are long gone, as the playing field for addiction has changed significantly over the past decade.
Today, The United States is facing heroin head on, as it has quickly become the most popular street drug on the block. In this past week alone, the acting world lost Philip Seymour Hoffman, an award-winning actor and recovered drug user, to a heroin overdose. Prior to that, 22 people died within six days in Pennsylvania, all due to an overdose of fentanyl laced heroin that has hit the streets.
Each day, people overdose on heroin – even if we do not hear about it in the news. Some states are seeing unimaginable increases in the use of substance, including the sunny state of Florida.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), deaths caused by heroin have increased by 89% in Florida, with counties such as Miami-Dade seeing the most cases of overdoses. One of the primary reasons that Florida is suffering so tremendously from heroin addiction, abuse and overdose is because the majority of the substance comes from Mexico. While transports for Mexico proved to contain less-potent heroin in the past, today the product that is crossing the border is pure, strong, and incredibly dangerous.
Another connection between Florida and heroin abuse comes from the fact that this state has long been considered one of the most popular places to purchase illegal prescription drugs in the country. As people have continued to abuse these prescription drugs, they have found themselves quickly out of money and turning to heroin, the most similar substance to pills, to keep them from experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
For the people of Florida, their prescription pill epidemic seemed to come to a stand still when local law enforcement agencies began taking strides towards preventing the buying, selling and consuming of illegal prescription drugs. The massive effort, while successful in ceasing the increase of use amongst Floridians, only drove users into the arms of heroin.
A lot can be learned at this time when it comes to where the country stands with heroin. What was once a not-commonly-used substance is now the most popular substance of choice by far. Therefore, not only are law enforcement officials in dire need to control prescription drug abuse, but they are also in need of developing ways to prevent the switch to heroin abuse – and do so quickly.