With Rise Of Painkiller Abuse, A Closer Look At Heroin
November 02, 2013
On Oct. 24, the Food and Drug Administration recommended putting new restrictions on hydrocodone, sold as Vicodin and other brand names.
federal data from 2011 finds that nearly 80 percent of people who had used heroin in the past year had also previously abused prescription painkillers classified as opioids.
Opioids — derived from opium — include morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone as well as heroin, says Kolodny, who is the chief medical officer for the national drug treatment network, Phoenix House, and president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.
DR. ANDREW KOLODNY: opioids produce a euphoria, but when you get used to taking them on a regular basis, in order to get that euphoria, you need to continue taking higher and higher doses.
And once your body is used to the drug, without the drug, you begin to feel very sick. You feel this flu-like illness and literally feel sometimes like they’re going to die. It’s like having a panic attack.
They give “both a positive reinforcement — the effect when you take the drug — but also very strong negative reinforcer, which is that you’ll feel very sick when you don’t have the drug,” he says.
“Those two factors together make opioids extremely addictive.”
the CDC is now telling us there are more people in the United States dying each year from drug overdoses than car crashes.”
The United States is completely alone in this trend, Dr. Kolodny says.
“The United States has about 4 percent of the world’s population, and we’re consuming more than 80 percent of the world’s oxycodone supply.
We’re also consuming more than 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone,” he says.
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Of patients addicted to heroin who are able to quit their habit, 40 to 60 percent relapse within the first year — often within the first weeks of finishing a treatment program