The state of Ohio is alarmed on the increasing number of heroin users in the area, as they keep getting younger. Children as young as 13 years old are said to be experimenting with heroin. The drug becomes a cheaper substitute for painkillers and it’s relatively more accessible compared to prescription medications.
According to the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, heroin abuse increased in the last six months. From the bi-annual survey of drug users and counselors, the main reasons why heroin has climbed the top of the most abused substances are its cheap cost and easy access.
In 2010, Ohio registered a record-breaking 338 deaths that were all heroin-related.
Trisha Saunders, head of The Recovery Center in Lancaster, confirmed that they are handling 360 cases with patients addicted to painkillers or heroin. “They say, ‘I never thought I’d switch from taking a pill to putting a needle in my arm.”
In Toledo, heroin users start their habit at the tender age of 13. This is supported by Ohio’s biggest substance abuse treatment facility, Maryhaven in Columbus, with 132 patients under the age of 18 hooked on heroin or painkillers.
Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services department director Orman Hall clarified that the state is doing its best to address the problem. They are targeting to lessen heroin users by implementing tighter regulations on dispensing prescription painkillers as heroin addiction is said to start with the said medications.
Heroin availability is not only affecting Ohio. Chicago and Lake County in Northern Indiana are also hit with the epidemic based on the 2011 National Drug Intelligence report.