Drug of Choice: What Addiction Looks Like Today
It seems like every generation has a drug addiction or two that defines its time. In the late 1960’s and early 70’s, young people were smoking pot, dropping acid and shooting up heroin. By the 1980s, cocaine was the drug of choice. Fast forward to the year 2007, and people were once again reaching for heroin and other opioids.
In 2017, the country remains in the midst of a vicious opioid scourge. Sadly, opioid abuse can develop from honest prescriptions for OxyContin, morphine, or other pain medications. When the pills run out, or the high isn’t potent enough, many users turn to heroin to get that good feeling back. Cost is also a factor; an Oxycontin pill on the street will cost you $30 while a hit of heroin can be bought for $5. Though street heroin is often laced with other dangerous drugs, people take the risk in order to get the high and save on buying prescriptions.
Heroin Cocktails are More Lethal Than Ever
The street supply of cheap heroin is widely available and can be snorted or smoked, removing the classic stigma of a junkie with a needle sticking in their arm. The potency of heroin mixed with fentanyl has emerged in a greater number of opioid overdoses. It’s a killer drug cocktail, and the user never knows the strength of the opioid in that particular packet bought off the street. According to a Florida Treatment Program at Recovery In Tune, opioid addiction is harmful, not just to users, but their family and loved ones. It’s becoming an epidemic few know how to deal with on a large scale.
Emergency responders who encounter numerous overdose victims have been thoroughly trained to inject Narcan as an overdose reversal drug. The American Medical Association also endorses the training of lay people in the use of Narcan.
New Hampshire Creates Safe Stations for Addicts
The Granite State has developed a safe harbor for those who want to stop using opioids, and the concept is spreading across the nation. Safe Stations are set up at the cities’ firehouses and connect those seeking help to recovery services with no fee charged. This has been instrumental in getting addicts off the street and in providing those with help who might not otherwise receive it.
Smoking Pot Legally in America Is Growing
Marijuana has often been called the “gateway drug” by some in the medical profession, but times have changed. It’s now legal to smoke a joint in about half the country.
Marijuana is now lawful in a variety of forms in 26 states and Washington, D.C. More states have also recently passed new laws permitting the use of medical marijuana. The nation’s landscape is no longer just red and blue; the country’s turning “green“. Today’s younger generations tend to use this drug more safely and in moderation as opposed to addiction-causing substances. Every state varies in how much weed they allow. In Massachusetts, residents can carry and consume small amounts of pot and grow up to 12 plants in their homes.
Addiction transcends the generations
As we move forward, the drugs change and the youth that use them seem to change why, or how they use them. Mind-altering substances will always be a part of society, whether it’s alcohol or more dangerous drugs. Today we seem to be hitting up against more opioid addiction and less dangerous instances of marijuana use.
Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.