With heroin-related overdoses rapidly increasing in the United States, many in the country are working to understand why users turn to the highly addictive drug so quickly in the first place. Taking a look at high school students, one group of researchers examined the potential relationship between prescription painkiller and heroin use.
There were 16,235 deaths involving prescription opioids in the country in 2013, an increase of 303% from 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There were 8,257 heroin-related deaths in 2013, up 39% from 2012.
Published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, a study revealed a new connection between heroin and prescription opioid use in high school students. The report, titled “Nonmedical Opioid Use and Heroin Use in a Nationally Representative Sample of US High School Seniors,” concluded that more than 75% of high school heroin users began experimenting further with opiates after first being introduced to prescription painkillers.