Heroin users today tend to be twenty-something white folks in the suburbs and even in rural areas, which is a pretty startling shift from back in the day, when it was mostly teen guys in the inner cities. Now, addicts are older, whiter, more women, and suburbanites. As well, most of them got their start on prescription pain-killers.
Heroin’s lower cost, as well as its accessibility, has made it the opioid of choice among today’s users. Prescription painkillers like OxyContin can cost upward of $80, whereas an addict can get a hit of heroin for as little as $10.
OxyContin’s apparently a more likely “gateway drug” than, say, pot. Personally, I’ve never understood the appeal of smack – but then, I find it incomprehensible that people become addicted to OxyContin, too. Yes, Rush Limbaugh got hooked on it, but I can’t see how or why: I had it prescribed when I was recovering from that whole cancer surgery thing, and I hated the stuff; within a day or so, I stopped taking it. I still have almost the entire prescription’s worth sitting around here somewhere.
I completely fail to understand how someone could actually like that junk in the first place; let alone enough to become dependent on it. Oh, sure, it knocks back the pain somewhat, post-op. And I guess people with back problems take it as well. But I found chiropractic more than adequate when I had back issues, and as for the post-op stuff – well, I’d rather just deal with it than take Oxy.
Of course, everybody’s different, and I’m certainly no exception. A lot of folks seem to really like the stuff, and move to heroin when Oxy’s no longer available or gets too expensive to manage. But I’ll never be able to wrap my head around that.