Opiate Use in Duluth Continues to Rise
Posted at: 07/17/2012 6:18 PM
By: Allie Delury
Officials from the Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment say abuse of heroin and other opiates is the leading cause of accidental injury and death in the United States.
"We have people who are opiate addicts that started because it was a prescription from a knee surgery," said Julie Seitz, Clinical Director for the Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment in Duluth.
Seitz says many problems come when patients mix medications and alcohol.
"Opiates with Benzoyl Diazepines and alcohol often are fatal, causing respiratory arrest and often that's what causes the overdose," said Seitz.
Treatment officials say some people may turn to heroin because it's cheaper than prescription medications.
"It is an expensive habit, but from a price-point perspective one dose of heroin is about the equivalent of a six-pack of beer," said Seitz.
Because heroin abuse is on the rise, treatment facilities are talking about ways to reduce harm... like this needle exchange.
Treatment facilities are also available for people who want to kick the habit completely.
"One of the biggest fears is withdrawl because it is so unpleasant, and it is often times painful," said Seitz.
Treatment officials also noted that clients who are going through withdrawal often resort to robbing, stealing, and other criminal acts.
Seitz hopes prevention programs will make people aware of the dangers of heroin, so overdose deaths can be prevented.
"You go into this business thinking you're going to help everyone," said Seitz, "and at the end of the day some folks, they die and it's heartbreaking, heartbreaking."