Low cost and easy availability serve as factors
that lead to heroin usage in people addicted to
opioid based painkillers.
A study concerning individuals addicted to painkillers who began abusing heroin as well, indicated that people were attracted to its usage due to its easy availability and relatively low cost.
In depth interviews conducted with 267 people from America who were receiving treatment for drug addiction, revealed that almost half of them were addicted to opioid based painkillers such as Percocet, OxyContin and Vicodin, before they started using heroin. The study indicated that very few people transitioned completely from using opioid to heroin owing to worries of turning into a “stereotypical” drug addict. However, over three quarter of the people interviewed disclosed that they eventually turned to heroin usage due to its low cost and easy accessibility. The researchers indicated that heroin is not only dangerous because it is more addictive than any painkiller, but also because it is difficult to determine how pure the substance is. This situation increasing the incidence of played a significant role in increasing the incidence of problems such as drug overdose.
Interestingly, the research showed that the as the government started becoming more proactive in taking action against the illegal prescription of opioid based medication, people started turning to heroin. As the price of narcotic painkillers increased, its usage decreased and addicted individuals began resorting to cheaper alternatives such as heroin.