Officials Battle Increasing Opiate Use

By Staff Writer

Drug enforcement officials continue to battle high rates of opiate addiction. Despite some progress in recent years, experts say that drugs like heroin and oxycodone are making a comeback , resulting in an epidemic of addiction.

Scott Smith, of the Central Oklahoma Task Force, told the Oklahoman that one reason for the increasing rates of heroin abuse is the high prevalence of prescription pain medications, which get people addicted.

He said that as users become more dependent on opiates, they often move to stronger, cheaper drugs. An individual who has become addicted to Oxycontin, for example, can get two to three doses of heroin for the price of one dose of the prescription medication.

Smith told the news source that this has led to a dramatic increase in the number of heroin addicts in the state of Oklahoma. Law enforcement officials are working to cut off the supply stream, but opiate addicts continue to find ways to feed their habit.

Opiate addiction is the most common reason for seeking substance abuse help, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It accounts for 18 percent of all drug rehab admissions.