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Tag: addiction

Heroin Becomes Law Enforcement’s Biggest Concern As Use Skyrockets

800px-HeroinBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Law enforcement nationwide believe heroin abuse is the largest drug threat, overtaking methamphetamine, according to a new DEA survey.

NBC News reports that the seizure of heroin has nearly doubled over the past five years, while the 51% more people are using the highly addictive drug.

“Heroin availability is up across the country, as are abuses, overdoses, and overdose deaths,” says the 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, released Wednesday.

One reason heroin has become so popular is because of prescription painkiller abuse. Painkillers and heroin are both opiates.

The number of deaths in 2013 – 46,471 – is the highest on record.

“Roughly half of the overdose deaths are related to abuse of prescription drugs and another 8,000 involve heroin. So combined those two things account for two-thirds of the overdose deaths,” said DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Head: 43,000 People Die a Year from Opiate Overdoses

FBI Agent Speaks Out About Stealing Heroin to Ease Pain, Addiction

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Matthew Lowry seemed to have everything going for him.

He worked for an elite drug task force after graduating with honors from the FBI Academy. His wife was pregnant with their first child.

Trouble is, Lowry had become addicted to pain medication to ease his chronic and painful inflammations of the intestines and needed a way to get through the day. The pain medication wasn’t enough and it was getting too expensive.

That’s when Lowry said he first stole evidence – a bag of heroin.

“Within 15 minutes, I was fine,” Lowry told the Washington Post. “It gave me energy. It made me feel euphoric, like I had confidence. You feel like you can take on anything.”

Lowry, now 33, kept up the secret life for about a year until he was arrested. The discovery that he was stealing evidence forced prosecutors to dismiss cases against 28 defendants.

On July 9, Lowry faces prison time on 64 criminal charges, including obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence and possession of drugs, according to the Post report.

“Where am I going to be a couple months from now?” Lowry said, holding his son, who is now 16 months old. “How is my wife going to raise my son? How is she going to take care of the house? I spend as much time as I can with my wife, with my son, with my parents, because I don’t know when it’s going to stop, and I’m not going to be able to see them for an extended amount of time.”

 

Heroin Use Increases Despite Deadly Consequences; Prescription Pills May Be to Blame

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Despite the dangers of heroin, people are increasingly turning to the drug, CNN reports.

But why?

It’s relatively inexpensive, readily available and becomes the next step for pain pill addicts.

A government study found that heroin use more than doubled in the past decade to 355,000.

“Heroin is pummeling the northeast, leaving addiction, overdoses and fear in its wake,” James Hunt of the DEA’s New York Office, said.

People die from heroin all the time. But on Sunday, we learned of the death of a high-profile figure, Philip Seymour Hoffman.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

An Analysis: The Illicit Prescription Drug Epidemic Just Keeps Getting Worse

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com
 
The following are a few of the true stories from the cinema verite of America’s Prescription Addiction already playing in real life near you. Half of Americans received at least one prescription in the last month, and almost three billion prescriptions for 100 billion pills were dispensed last year. Both numbers are on a steady increase.

Scene #1 – In the early morning hours the “patients” are lined up out the door and around the block of the suburban Detroit clinic.  Each has a well rehearsed set of subjective symptoms that will produce a scrip for Xanax, Vicodin or another drug that they can sell on the street. Muted cheers as the doctor pulls up in his expensive European sedan, gives them a friendly wave, and then enters the side door of the office. By noon he will have completed his “treatment” of those in the line, and he will retire to the doctors’ lounge at a nearby hospital where he can check his stocks on his laptop.

Scene #2 – The federal prosecutor and case agent view the latest day’s video of a court-authorized Title III from a camera inserted into another doctor’s office, this time in the inner city. The investigation had shown that no “patients” ever entered this office. The doctor enters the office and, using the list of names and drugs given to him by his assistant, proceeds to write out dozens of prescriptions for patients he never sees. What is striking to the prosecution team is that he always puts on his starched white coat and checks his appearance in the mirror before sitting at his desk to complete his task.

Scene #3 – Fourteen year old Sally digs through her parents’ medicine cabinet before leaving the house to join her friends. She thought there was some Valium left from last week but decides to settle for a few of these OxyContins her father had left over from some back surgery. A friend would bring some alcohol to share with the group. Her parents would receive a call later that night from the hospital emergency room where she had been taken after she went into seizure at the party.

Scene #4 – Max was a good student at the state university, but this semester’s course load was a ball-buster, and his performance on final exams next week would determine whether he would keep his scholarship for the rest of the year. Fortunately he had a buddy down the hall who had been diagnosed as ADHD and who would always slide him a few Adderall to boost his concentration level.

Scene #5 – Dr. Anderson gets a call as he is leaving the house with his family to see a Friday night movie. He has to take it because it is his turn to be on call. A desperate sounding patient of the clinic where he works is in a great deal of pain from a recent surgery. She needs a prescription for a pain killer called in to the pharmacy so that she can get through the weekend. Although he knows it will mess up the movie schedule, the doctor takes the time to check the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database and discovers that the patient has been getting the same pain pills from two other physicians and an emergency room in the last month. He refuses the request and makes a mental note to address the issue with her regular physician.

Like most things, along with the use comes the abuse. Over one-fifth of Americans have taken prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. One-quarter of high school students have abused them, a 33% increase in the last four years. Six of the ten most popular illegal drugs used by 12th graders were originally obtained by prescription, and half of them came from mom and dad’s medicine cabinet.

The epidemic of illicit prescription drug abuse continues to gain speed.  Its use exceeds the combined use of cocaine, heroin, and all inhalants. Marijuana is the only illegal drug used more than pharmaceuticals.

Drug overdose deaths exceeded automobile accident fatalities last year, and most of these (about 24,000) involved prescription drugs, especially addictive painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin.

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