The use of heroin and fentanyl – both highly addictive opioids – is on the rise nationwide. Many heroin users started off abusing prescription drugs.1
Heroin is an opiate drug processed from morphine and extracted from certain poppy plants. It is highly addictive, cheaper than prescription medication, and produces a euphoric high.
When used legally, fentanyl is a prescription painkiller. On a small scale, the drug is diverted from the legitimate market for sale. But it is illegal fentanyl, mostly made in Chinese and Mexican underground labs, that is largely responsible for the current epidemic across the country.2
Users are attracted to fentanyl’s strong, euphoric high. The addiction is very strong. Many users constantly seek out the drug to avoid withdrawal.2
More recently, fentanyl has become the driving force behind Ohio's unintentional drug overdoses. In 24 of the state's counties, more than 90 percent of unintentional drug overdoses in January and February 2017 involved fentanyl or drugs with a similar structure to fentanyl, according to researchers at Wright State University.3
1"Prescription opioid use is a risk factor for heroin use." National Institute on Drug Abuse; December 2015; https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/relationship-bet... (accessed April 2017)
22016 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary Link: https://www.dea.gov/resource-center/DIR-001-17%202016%20NDTA%20Summary.pdf
3"Fentanyl plays rising role in Ohio overdose deaths." Dayton Daily News; September 5, 2017: http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/fentanyl-plays-rising-role-ohio-over...(accessed September 2017)