From Prescription Pain Pills to Heroin: A Dangerous Road & When to Consider Opiate Addiction Treatment

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Prescription pain pills have come a long way since the days when morphine was the be-all and end-all for pain treatment. With dozens of different prescription types and potency levels available, most any type of pain symptom can be relieved by one or more prescription drug types.

Illegal opiates, such as heroin and opium have also undergone considerable “improvement” in terms of purity and potency levels. Unfortunately, the line between legal and illegal opiate varieties has blurred considerably in the eyes of the consumer.

Opiate drugs in general carry a high risk of abuse and addiction, with one drug easily stepping in for another when the need arises. In effect, the transition from prescription pain pills to heroin is nearly seamless due to the boldface similarities between these two drug types. While it’s never too soon to consider getting help in the face of an opiate abuse problem, the need for opiate addiction treatment becomes painfully apparent by the time a person starts to engage in heroin abuse.

Prescription Pain Pills vs. Heroin: Similarities & Differences

pain pill to heroin

Heroin and pain pills have similar effects on the brain.

Prescription pain pills and heroin share many similarities and few differences. Both drug types derive from the opium poppy plant, and while many prescription pain medications are synthetically made, they’re nonetheless formulated to produce the same types of effects as opium.

When a person enters opiate addiction treatment, it doesn’t matter whether his or her drug of choice was legal or illegal; the effects remain the same. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opiates, as a group, trigger the same chemical reactions in the brain, elevating neurotransmitter chemical levels and blocking incoming pain signals from reaching the brain.

Over time, these interactions leave brain cells in an increasingly deteriorated state, making them less sensitive to opiate effects. At this point, a person has to increase the dosage amount to experience the anticipated effects of the drug.

Herein lies the driving force behind opiate abuse and addiction as this cycle will continue for as long as a person keeps taking the drug. With this range of similarities, it’s easy to see how a person can transition from prescription pain pills to heroin in an effort to meet the brain’s increasing tolerance for opiate effects.

As far as differences go, the only difference between prescription pain pills and heroin has to do with their drug classifications. Prescription pain pills are controlled substances formulated to deliver certain measured effects, whereas heroin can vary in potency level and effect from batch to batch.

Today’s Heroin

In general, heroin addictions tend to be more severe than prescription pain pill addictions, simply because heroin produces quicker and stronger effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, today’s heroin product has seen considerable improvements in purity, price, potency and usability. Users no longer have to resort to injecting the drug as purer heroin strains can be snorted instead. This makes it all the more easier to take up heroin abuse. As far as price goes, $10 worth can keep a person occupied for a good portion of the day.

Recognizing a Loved One’s Switch from Prescription Narcotics to Heroin

The Need for Opiate Addiction Treatment

Once a person makes the switch from prescription pain pills to heroin, it won’t be long before his or her life starts to spin out of control with problems at work, problems at home and money problems soon taking shape. Without needed opiate addiction treatment help, the addiction will only get worse eventually leaving a shell of person in its wake.

If you or someone you know struggles with prescription pain pill abuse and have more questions about addiction and opiate addiction treatment, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at (800) 407-7195 for more information.

the Take-Away

Prescription pain pills have come a long way since the days when morphine was the be-all and end-all for pain treatment. With dozens of different prescription types and potency levels available, most any type of pain symptom can be relieved by one or more prescription drug types. Illegal opiates, such as heroin and opium have …