09 Oct White Suburbanites Are the New Drug Addicts
Many experts say that prescription medications are similar to heroin and that addicts will switch drugs to the first available to seek relief from pain. The abuse of prescription drugs has become the greatest drug epidemic since crack cocaine entered the scene in the 80s and 90s.
According to a recent article in The Chicago Tribune, the newest trend in drug users is they are increasingly white from suburban and upper-middle class homes and are both older adults and teenagers looking for a quick high. Prescription drug deaths have tripled nationwide from the beginning of the millennium to 2008 and have exceeded deaths from cocaine and heroin combined. In 2009, drug deaths reached an all-time high of nearly 37,500, killing more people than automobile accidents.
Experts say prescription drugs and heroin abuse are intertwined. They are so similar that the user will substitute one for the other when they run out. Many users have begun their addiction to prescription meds because they believe they are safer. Once hooked on them, they may move on to heroin.
Both of these drugs have similarities in that they are depressants that can kill. They suppress breathing especially when mixed with other downers or alcohol. Teenagers are finding these drugs easy to get their hands on because they are often in their parents’ medicine cabinet at home. The DEA says that 1 in every 6 adolescents under 20 years old have tried a prescription drug in order to get a quick high. A special agent in the Chicago area also says many gang members are sending in members to fake illnesses in order to obtain these prescriptions.
The DEA stresses that it will take law enforcement, educators and parents to crack down on those involved with prescription drug abuse because it is such a huge problem.
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