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From prescription drugs to heroin: Orlando addicts finding solace in cheaper option

Published On: 04-15-2016 in Category: Addiction, Heroin

heroin

As America continues to suffer from prescription drug abuse and heroin epidemic, Florida too has its own share of woes where addicts have been shifting their choice of abuse from the expensive opioids to the much cheaper and easily available illegal drug. In fact, in her own admission, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs recently highlighted the dangerous shift in the choice of addiction.

“As I testified before Congress, too many prescription drug abusers have found an inexpensive and too often deadly alternative in heroin. As recommended by our Heroin Task Force, the life-saving drug naloxone needs to be more accessible – and without a prescription – as well as available at a reasonable cost. I applaud the Governor and Legislature for their efforts. This bill will surely save lives,” Jacobs said on March 28, 2016.

Jacobs had testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee Oversight and Government Reform on March 22 as a key witness on the heroin epidemic sweeping the country and Central Florida. Earlier, she had formed the Orange County Heroin Task Force in July 2015 to address the growing heroin abuse and brought Orange County Sheriff Jerry L. Demings to serve as co-chair.

Concluding its efforts in March, the Task Force delivered 37 targeted recommendations, ranging from increased bond and trafficking penalties to social media campaigns warning young people about the deadly nature of heroin. It also suggested measures like expanding access to naloxone, treatment to fight the addiction, additional education and training.

At the final meeting of the Task Force – comprising key community leaders who offered their expertise in the areas of education and prevention, healthcare, treatment and law enforcement, to address the increase in heroin use and overdose-related deaths in Orange County – on March 14, the four subcommittees had presented their reports.

Recent drug bust

Mayor Jacobs’ concern over the issue is a welcome step and shows the way how seriously the issue needs to be taken up by the local authorities across the nation. While prescription drug abuse continues to be a serious problem, heroin has resurfaced as a major alternative owing to easy accessibility and lower cost.

Some recent actions by law enforcement agencies to check drug trafficking further highlights the alarming situation in the area. In February 2016, 11 members of group La Compania – all Orlando residents – were arrested. They allegedly sold about 2.2 pounds of heroin every week near Orlando’s tourist corridor and International Drive. The drug bust was an outcome of year-long investigation. The gang allegedly dealt in heroin worth over $3 million annually. Rather than individual addicts, it targeted other distributors and sold each heroin baggie for $10. The group sold up to 200 plastic baggies of heroin to dealers.

The dealers used restaurant parking lots on International Drive to sell the drugs and used a rotating phone number called “the heroin line” to arrange for meetings. According to a report in the Sentinel Report, the drug bust is one of the largest cases of heroin epidemic to eradicate from street in Florida this year.

Path to recovery

Prescription drug abuse is a pervasive ill ailing our society and it may affect people of any age group. Experts have said that there has been a steady rise in heroin abuse cases since 2007. Looking at the propensity of teens taking to drugs and alcohol, it is not difficult to assume that they have an easy access to it.

People who suffer from drug abuse are not fully in their senses to understand what harm they are causing to themselves and others. If you know someone who is struggling with an addiction, help is available. The Orlando Drug Treatment Rehab Center provides holistic and well-balanced treatment programs. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 407-545-6829 for more information.

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