Florida’s crackdown on prescription painkiller abuse has had an unfortunate side effect: addicts are turning to heroin more and more.
The move to heroin by addicts has had lethal consequences. According to Reuters, a 2014 report issued by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, reported deaths from heroin rose from 62 in 2011 to 117 in 2012 — an increase of 89 percent. In Miami-Dade County, deaths from heroin grew by 120 percent, from 15 in 2011 to 33 in 2012. “It’s the rapid escalation that’s disturbing. This is the mother of all addictions, related to so much destruction and so many serious consequences, particularly death, most of which are preventable. To declare it an epidemic is a public-health responsibility,” Nova Southeastern University epidemiologist James N. Hall told the Miami Herald.
Most of the heroin in Florida originates in Mexico. Drug cartels traditionally supplied low-quality black tar and brown powder forms of heroin, but a purer, more potent white powder form of the drug is becoming more and more available to Florida’s addicts. Availability of heroin has resulted in lower prices for the narcotic. Hall told the Miami Herald, “heroin sells for as low as $10 for a little baggie, depending on how pure it is.”
More addicts mean more treatment: according to the Miami Herald, the Florida Department of Children & Families reported the number of people admitted for heroin treatment at publicly-funded facilities in Miami-Dade County jumped from 161 to 386 between January 2012 and June 2013.
Heroin addiction can be a difficult problem to treat. When a user stops using heroin and other opioid narcotics, they can experience physical withdrawal symptoms including pain and vomiting which can be severe. Medications are often administered during the detoxification period that can make withdrawal easier to endure. Medicines like methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone work on patients in a variety of ways. Some medications activate the same opioid receptors in the body that heroin does, but do so more safely and are distributed in controlled environments allowing the patient to avoid potentially harmful behaviors and situations. Others ease withdrawal symptoms while blocking the opioid receptors, denying the user the “rush” that comes with abuse of heroin.
Naturally assisted detox is another method of treating heroin addiction. This process consists of two therapies, neurotransmitter restoration, NTR, and nicontinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD, therapy. These two therapies help patients in drug treatment through withdrawal by decreasing the severity of the symptoms and lessening drug cravings, while bathing the brain in nutrients. NTR therapy restores the neurotransmitters in the brain damaged by drug use while NAD therapy provides the brain with more energy to speed up its healing processes.
The Florida Detox Helpline is dedicated to helping you or a loved one find an effective detox treatment – including NAD/NTR – as well as a reputable facility. You can start the journey to recovery right now. Please contact our staff for more information on detox programs available near you.