According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of young adults between ages 15 and 24 who have died from a heroin overdose has doubled over the past decade. These individuals are often educated and affluent – not the stereotypical heroin "junkie" that is usually presented in television and movies. Many families of those suffering from heroin addiction are surprised to find out the root of their loved one's addiction: at home, in the medicine cabinet.
In an interview with Philadelphia ABC affiliate WPVI, David Dongilli, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), said that the problem of prescription drug abuse has reached "epidemic proportions."
There were over 350 heroin-related deaths in Philadelphia in 2012, the highest since 2007.
"We are seeing seizures of heroin at levels we've never seen before in the state of Pennsylvania," Dongilli told the media outlet. "We believe the increase in the seizure is a direct result of prescription drug abuse."
He added that he has seen people of all ages and backgrounds who have found themselves hooked on heroin. Why has this happened? According to Dongilli, the addiction starts off innocently enough. Individuals who are taking prescription narcotics like Percocet or Oxycontin for pain relief can easily become addicted. Once their pills run out and they can't afford to buy them on the street, they turn to heroin as a cheaper alternative.
If someone you love is abusing prescription medications, now is the time to step in. Contact Intervention Services today to learn how an addiction interventionist, can help your friend or relative enter an effective treatment program.