Carey, Benedict. "Prescription Painkillers Seen as a Gateway to
Heroin." NYTimes.com. The New York Times, 10 Feb. 2014. Web. 11 Feb. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/11/health/prescription-painkillers-seen-as-a-gateway-to-heroin.html?ref=science&_r=0>.
This article is about prescription painkillers and the drug heroin being interconnected and the use of one leading to the use of another. Recently, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a heroin overdose. He was a recovering addict and had struggling to quit a prescription painkiller addiction last year. Opioid painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin have created problems of relapse for users and former users. When heroin users go through withdrawal, these prescription painkillers can relieve them. Also, former heroin users get cravings for heroin when the consume prescription painkillers.
Sociologist Stephen E. Lankenau said, “Users switch back and forth, to pills then back to heroin when it’s available, and back again.” Prescription opioid use and heroin use have been on the rise and it is now easy to get opioids from many different sources. Many people recovering from heroin abuse are reported to have started on painkillers. Many clinics are now holding overdose prevention courses, which teach the signs of an overdose and teach people how to administer an opioid-blocking drug.
This article is very relevant to the drug abuse issue in today’s world. In so many magazines and newspapers you can find stories about drug use and abuse, and it seems that we hear about celebrities dying from overdoses much too often. The fact that heroin use is linked to prescription painkiller use is a scary realization. It is important that people using these medications know the dangers of abuse and what it can lead to.
I really enjoyed reading this article because it taught me something I did not know a lot about. I found it very interesting and eye opening. Even though this is true with many medications, it is scary to think that doctors are prescribing drugs that can be abused and lead to life-altering, even life-threatening illegal drugs. I liked how the article was written – it wasn’t too long, but included necessary background information and connections to today’s world. I enjoyed reading this article and the topic is definitely something I would be interesting in learning more about.