Drug abuse in Ohio has been an ongoing problem for many years. Recently, authorities have seen an increase in people using heroin in place of opiate medications such as OxyContin. Even more disturbing is the state reports that 13 year olds are using heroin instead of prescription pain medicine. Why is this epidemic happening in Ohio resulting in more adolescent drug abuse?
Ohio’s Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services reports that Ohio is experiencing “crisis of unparalleled proportions,” regarding opiate abuse. Many children are finding prescription opiates in the form of OxyContin in their parent’s medicine cabinets. Doctors prescribe this most commonly abused drug for almost all pain inducing issues: dental, surgery, muscle or joint pain, etc. The freely prescribed drug becomes easy to access for teens and also makes ‘doctor shopping’ for prescriptions rather easy for addicts too. Pain clinics have been targeted due to the national epidemic and crackdown on prescription drug addiction. Programs have been implemented to monitor doctors and decrease the distribution of unnecessary medications. MSNBC did a news report indicating that prescription opiates sell from $30 to $80 dollars a pill while a $10 bag of heroin offers a similar or better high. After opiate addiction has developed, the addict finds that it’s cheaper to use heroin than pharmaceutical forms of opiates. Ohio may need to implement more education within the school system regarding drug addiction. In addition, parental education may be needed regarding addictive medications left in medicine cabinets that their children are gaining access to.