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Heroin addiction often starts with a medical issue

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2023 | Drug Charges

Different drugs are tied to different social stereotypes. People often associate methamphetamine with rural communities, while cocaine has more of an upscale social cachet. Heroin is one of the most despised drugs because of how dangerous it can be.

Not only does heroin quickly lead to severe addiction, but it can also put someone at risk of an overdose. Many people think of heroin users, who often inject the drug, as hardened addicts. However, contrary to what people may believe, the average heroin user could very well be a typically responsible, upright citizen rather than a habitual criminal. For many people, heroin addiction starts with a major medical issue.

Opioids are an entry point for heroin use

The average addict does not start with the most dangerous drugs available. Instead, they start with something legal or easily accessible. Many people who eventually become dependent on heroin never used drugs recreationally before developing issues with chemical dependence.

A health issue may have led to a need for prescription pain relief. Modern opioid pain relievers, like fentanyl, are very powerful. People can quickly become dependent on opioids. They may feel acutely aware of their pain when between doses or may have trouble sleeping after becoming acclimated to opioid use.

Frequently, healthcare professionals fail to take the proper steps when administering opioids for pain management. Instead of slowly tapering someone off of their opioid medication, the doctor simply instructs them to decrease their dosage and will stop refilling their prescription. Many patients find it nearly impossible to taper off of opioids without direct medical support. They may fear the withdrawal symptoms or struggle so to find alternate ways to manage their pain.

Someone who no longer has access to prescribed opioids might begin seeking out pain medication on the unregulated market. That may eventually lead to them purchasing heroin when fentanyl and similar medications are not available. Many heroin addicts are not otherwise criminals.

Those facing prosecution for heroin and other narcotics in Maryland could be subject to major penalties if they plead guilty. Overcoming the stigma associated with heroin use is often a first step toward pursuing the best possible outcome when facing drug charges in Maryland.