Prescription Opiates: The New Gateway Drug

When many people think of a gateway drug, marijuana is usually the substance that comes to mind. Whether it be what our parents told us, or what we learned in school, it was perceived that using marijuana would lead to going on to trying harder drugs. However, in present-day America, we have a new gateway drug, and its often found in our medicine cabinets. Opioid use has started a new drug epidemic in the United States of America.

gateway drug

What Started This Epidemic?

Many people were not aware of the power that these drugs had when they were first released. It was thought that these drugs would provide a level of comfort for those that were dealing with constant as well as severe pain. However, it wasn’t widely noted until years later just how addictive these pills such as OxyContin and Percocet were.

What Are the Dangers of Opioids?

Aside from being extremely addictive, many opioids are also very powerful. Last year it is estimated that around sixty percent of all overdose deaths involved opioids. Opioids are even more dangerous when they are combined with other substances such as alcohol. What is perhaps the most dangerous aspect of opioid abuse, is the correlation between opioid use and heroin usage. Many people who abuse opioids tend to go on to use harder drugs such as heroin.

Why Do Opioid Users Turn to Heroin?

There are many reasons that someone who uses opioids would turn to heroin. Some of these reasons might include:

More powerful

Many people who are addicted to opioids will require more and more to achieve the desired high that they deliver. Instead of taking more and more pills many users will instead turn to heroin to achieve the same effect

Easier to get

Many times people who are addicted to opioids will no longer be able to access their pills through their doctors. They will, in turn, have to turn to the black market, which could also lead to an increase in cost.


Buying opioids on the black market can become quite expensive. Many times dealers will charge customers depending on the strength of the pill which is being purchased, many times users can find themselves paying over $30 per pill.

How to Treat an Opioid Addiction?

Opiate addiction treatment can be done at either an outpatient or inpatient treatment facility. For people who have a severe opiate addiction, or have moved to substances such as heroin, an inpatient approach to opiate addiction treatment might be the best course of action.

Opioid Addiction

Opiate addiction treatment centers have the tools and resources available to help people break away from their addiction and go on to live happy and sober lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with opiate addiction, you should speak to a medical professional as soon as possible. If left untreated, an addiction to prescription drugs can cause serious health complications. A medical professional will be able to help you choose a treatment facility that is best for you.

Some treatment facilities such as, Ranch Creek Recovery offer treatment programs that stray away from the traditional 12 step programs that many people are familiar with. Instead of delivering themselves to a high power, patients at holistic treatment centers can use holistic approaches such as garden therapy, equine therapy, acupuncture, and fitness programs to promote a happy and healthier lifestyle that is focused around sobriety. No one should have to face addiction alone, so please speak to someone about you or someone you know if you suspect that they could use help in working towards a more meaningful life.