A searing, two-hour investigation places America’s heroin crisis in a fresh and provocative light — telling the stories of individual addicts, but also illuminating the epidemic’s years-in-the-making social context, deeply examining shifts in U.S. drug policy, and exploring what happens when addiction is treated like a public health issue, not a crime.
A tool lots of other countries have tried is suddenly within reach in cities like Philadelphia.
Across North America, tainted opioids are killing people who use drugs. Vancouver’s Mark Tyndall says we should start dispensing safer pills using high-tech machines.
In Fresno County, drug use is about two times the state average. Pregnancy can be a crucial time for women to seek help for addiction—but it can also cost them their children.
Bring up the topic of opioid painkillers, and you’re almost certain to hear an idea that goes like this: People believed, or were allegedly led to believe, that opioid painkillers pose less of an addiction risk than they actually do. What comes up less often is that, in the opioid field, this has happened before.
By the time of the American Civil War, in the 1860s, morphine was a battlefield staple, shot into soldiers to ease the pain of wounds and to treat the dysentery and malaria that raged through military camps. Home gardens in both the North and the South were ablaze with poppies as citizens patriotically grew opium for their troops; the raw drug was then processed into morphine and rushed to the front. Millions of doses were given. Thousands of veterans with lifelong wounds were taught how to use syringes to self-administer the drug long after the war ended; morphine and syringes were sold by mail order and over the counter at drugstores.
Arcane rules and outdated beliefs about addiction are keeping many people from getting treatment.
Cannabis addiction is not pervasive, but it is also not uncommon. Our best estimate, based on conditional prevalence rates, is that, approximately 1 out of 10 people who ever try cannabis at least once during their lifetime will likely become addicted. Put another way, this means that about 90 percent of people who try cannabis do not become addicted.
"It's so good. Don't even try it once." intravenous heroin user
In 1972 brain researchers from Johns Hopkins University made a puzzling discovery that would illuminate scientists' understanding of drug addiction.
They found that the human brain's neurons had specific receptor sites for opiate drugs: opium, heroin, codeine and morphine.
One of the first signs of heroin's impact on immunity appeared over forty years ago. Researchers discovered a change in the way addicts form antibodies. The impetus came from a rather high rate of multisystem diseases including endocarditis, kidney disease and cancer.
What strategy have they pursued to stop heroin at its source in countries like Burma?
In 1995, France made it so any doctor could prescribe buprenorphine without any special licensing or training. Buprenorphine, a first-line treatment for opioid addiction, is a medication that reduces cravings for opioids without becoming addictive itself.
For all the varied treatment methods Heroin use remains a significant addiction problem world wide. In the United States one alarming trend is that the age of first use such that 1.5% of 9th graders report using heroin.
Opium has been around for many hundreds of years and was originally used to treat pain, sleeplessness and diarrhoea. When morphine is made into heroin to be used as a medicine, it’s called diamorphine, and is stronger than morphine or opium. Like many drugs made from opium (called opiates), heroin is a very strong painkiller. ‘Street’ heroin sold as 'brown' is sometimes now used by clubbers as a chill out drug after a big night out.
Heroin, along with the other opioid drugs, is the most addictive illegal drug in use today. Addicts face many threats to their lives, not the least of which is the addiction itself.
Heroin abuse is associated with serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, collapsed veins, and, particularly in users who inject the drug, infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
Records indicate that opium was used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. The poppy even appears on Egyptian art dating back 6,000 years. Opium was imported to China around 800 A.D. By the 1600s, opium smoking was widespread throughout China. In 1680, a famous English physician named Thomas Syndenham introduced opium to the medical field.
Heroin is a powerful opiate pain-killer that produces euphoria and blissful apathy. It is known for leading to addiction and difficult physical withdrawal symptoms.