Prescription painkillers and heroin create the same high, but one is much less costly than the other. That price difference mattered for Scranton resident Mike, The Scranton Times-Tribune reported.
Mike was your average guy with a wife and three daughters. He got into a car accident that ultimately changed his life forever. Mike woke up three weeks after the accident with his wife and daughter no longer by his side. Mike underwent 23 hours of surgery, winding up with 38 screws and rods in his legs to keep him together.
With two daughters to care for, Mike decided to skip the wheelchair. He was prescribed painkillers by his doctor but often found himself running out. As a result, he decided to seek out painkillers on the streets and found a much cheaper option – heroin.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that 1 in 15 people who take prescription pills will try heroin in the following 10 years.
Prescription Drugs Can Lead to Heroin Addiction
Lackawanna County’s court judge Michael Barrasse stated that though heroin is the most prevalent drug in the area, it often begins with an addiction to prescription painkillers. Barrasse believes painkillers are the legalized form of heroin.
Tina Finnigan, an outpatient drug counselor at a local treatment center, stated that $40 will get you 40 milligrams of painkillers, which does not provide an effective high. For the same price, a person can buy four bags of heroin and have a day-long high.
Senator Bob Casey is pushing legislation that identifies people with an addiction to prescribed painkillers. The legislation would allow doctors and pharmacists to recognize people that are filling prescriptions most often. These databases would prevent people from doctor shopping or trying to go to multiple pharmacies to fill a prescription.
As for Mike, he has been clean and sober since 2012 thanks to help from an addiction treatment center in the area. He now leads addiction meetings and inspires others to get help as he once did. He believes that if he can get help and turn his life around, anyone can.