The epidemic of Americans addicted to opioid and opiate medications has reached an alarming point across the country. There are very few communities and neighborhoods that do not see some impact of opioid or opiate addiction. People from all backgrounds and all walks of life can quickly find themselves dependent on narcotic pain medication.

All it takes is a surgery or simple accident to wind up prescribed and then addicted to narcotic pain relief. People absolutely need pain relief when they have medical procedures or after a traumatic injury. Unfortunately, the same medications that help people cope with pain can have addictive and debilitating consequences in the future. Doctors often crack down on individuals they believe are seeking pain relievers for recreational purposes or because of addiction.

Doctors are more strict, in part, because federal and state law enforcement agencies are much more aggressive about prosecuting doctors who overprescribe them than they were only a few years ago. Unfortunately, simply cutting someone off from a prescription won’t address their addiction. Instead, it can lead more people to abusing street drugs.

Prescription crackdowns and anti-abuse reformulations push people toward heroin

Opiate and opioid addiction are serious issues that require a lot of investment and support to overcome. Individuals often experience extreme, painful symptoms during the withdrawal process. Even after the physical effects of withdrawal end, those who suffered an opioid or opiate addiction will likely always have some degree of craving for an addiction to painkillers and even heroin.

Drug makers have gotten creative to limit the abuse of their medications. In some cases, they will even reformulate drugs to keep people from abusing them for a recreational high. They may mix in another drug that blocks opioid receptors, in case someone attempts to abuse the drug. They can also change the texture of the drug, making it harder to insufflate.

These formula changes, combined with doctors who are less willing to prescribe the pain medication people become addicted to, lead more people to street drugs, such as heroin. They may find themselves at risk for criminal consequences related to their addiction.

Addicts need help, not jail time

For some people, winding up arrested over heroin abuse is the first step toward recovery. Spending a night in jail can be a sobering experience. It can also get individuals through the worst initial stages of withdrawal, making it easier for them to stay sober when they finally get bonded out of jail.

If an arrest has served as a wake-up call for you or a loved one, you should look into treatment and support options for ending opioid, opiate and heroin addictions. You should also explore your options for fighting back against pending possession charges from the time of the arrest.