The nation as a whole is still feeling the devastating effects of opiate addiction. Overdose deaths associated with heroin, prescription painkillers and related opioids keep rising in many states throughout the country.
Massachusetts, for example, is expected to have more than 1,000 fatalities due to heroin and other opiates, which is significantly more than just a couple years ago. The problem is so bad that the governor has appointed a special task force to try and find solutions to the epidemic, and this is in a state that already had a notoriously-bad opiate problem.
Unfortunately, there are many other states continuing to mourn the loss of loved ones in record numbers as well, as thousands of people are senselessly passing away from opiate addiction throughout the country.
Perhaps one of the factors that contribute to the increased heroin deaths is that the additives in heroin are changing. More dealers are incorporating fentanyl, a dangerous and powerful opiate, into the heroin in order to make the drug more powerful. Because the demand for heroin is so strong and more people are beginning to deal the drug, dealers are adding fentanyl in order to make their batch more appealing to addicts or to be able to cut it with other additives.
Another reason for the increase is that many people are turning to heroin after already developing an addiction to prescription painkillers. While prescription painkillers like OxyContin or Percocet are not safer than heroin, users know exactly how much they are ingesting because the doses are more regulated. When addicts consume heroin they may not be aware of how much they are ingesting.
Regardless of the reasons why the amount of people who have died as a result of heroin is increasing so much, it is clear that more action needs to be taken to prevent this from continuing to occur. More emphasis needs to be placed on drug education and prevention, as well as intervention and effective treatments.