8 Common Reasons People Start Using Heroin

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Heroin is an illicit opioid that has caused thousands of overdose deaths across the U.S., and that continues to contribute to the nationwide opioid epidemic. An individual may turn to heroin for any number of reasons, such as to relieve chronic pain, manage stress, or for recreational use. Heroin can be highly addictive and deadly, which is why understanding the reasons people start using can help you or your loved one identify when help is needed.

If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin addiction, call our 24/7 confidential helpline at (800) 407-7195 to speak with an addiction treatment counselor. We’ll connect you or your loved one with the resources needed to successfully overcome opioid addiction and become happier, healthier, and drug-free.

Here are eight common reasons people turn to heroin use.

1. Withdrawal from Prescription Opioids

Reasons People Start Using Heroin

Many people turn to heroin after becoming addicted to prescription painkillers.

Those who take prescription opioids for conditions such as chronic pain can become physically dependent on the drug, and experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms upon stopping use. When these individuals can no longer refill their opioid prescriptions, they purchase heroin from the street to relieve cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

2. It’s Less Costly

Prescription painkillers are often far more costly than heroin, especially when patients lack funds or health insurance coverage. Many individuals turn to heroin to save money, and to experience the same feelings of pain relief and euphoria offered by prescription opioids.

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3. Addiction Following Injury

Those who suffer major injuries such as fractures are often prescribed painkillers for short-term chronic pain management. Patients who abuse painkillers by taking too many or taking them too frequently can become addicted, and turn to heroin long after chronic pain treatment has ended.

4. To Relieve Stress

Some people turn to substances as a way to cope with and manage stress. Since heroin produces feelings of relaxation and euphoria, many users rely on the drug to help them feel better. Unfortunately, the short- and long-term effects of heroin can worsen stress, and increase the risk for future problems.

5. To Self-Medicate

Individuals who suffer from chronic pain or co-occurring disorders such as bipolar disorder may use heroin to self-medicate when prescription opioids are unavailable. Those who suspect they may have a mental or physical illness may also use heroin to self-medicate to avoid visiting the doctor or spending money on prescription painkillers.

6. To Fit In Socially

People who suffer from social anxiety disorders or who struggle with fitting in socially may use heroin to feel more relaxed and outgoing. These individuals may believe that heroin makes them feel happier and brave enough to thrive in social settings.

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47,300* People Addicted
23,100* Getting Help
8,209* Deaths
*Statistic from 2015

7. To Seek Heightened Euphoria

Individuals who use other substances such as marijuana and cocaine may experiment with heroin to experience a sense of heightened euphoria. Over time, as users become physically dependent on heroin, they start taking higher doses in an effort to chase and achieve a more intense high.

8. Boredom and Curiosity

Some people turn to heroin simply out of boredom, or due to curiosity about the drug’s effects. For instance, many heroin addicts who live in rural areas admit to using heroin due to having limited access to fun, local activities.

If you have a problem with heroin addiction or suspect that a loved one has a problem, call our 24/7 confidential helpline at (800) 407-7195. Our caring addiction counselors will help you find treatment centers devoted to helping you or your loved one overcome opioid addiction.

the Take-Away

Whatever the reason for heroin use, this behavior has dangerous consequences and almost always leads to addiction.