NIDA confirms that prescription opioid use is a risk factor for heroin use. It reports that pooling data from 2002 to 2012, the incidence of heroin initiation was 19 times higher among those who reported prior nonmedical pain reliever use than among those who did not (0.39 vs. 0.02 percent) (citing Muhuri et al., 2013). It adds that a study of young, urban injection drug users interviewed in 2008 and 2009 found that 86 percent had used opioid pain relievers nonmedically prior to using heroin, and their initiation into nonmedical use was characterized by three main sources of opioids: family, friends, or personal prescriptions (citing Lankenau et al., 2012).
Whilst it’s important that President Trump called a national emergency on Thursday, I fear that the US government is way behind the curve. More money will provide limited additional public care but surely what’s required is crisis managament intervention?