Heroin epidemic: tangled roots, many challenges
Finding a treatment program and overcoming an addition to heroin or another opioid is difficult but not impossible, says Ross Sullivan, MD, director of medical toxicology at Upstate Medical University. Sullivan tells how the effort to control pain medically helped create the current addiction crisis in opioids -- drugs derived from the opium poppy (heroin, morphine) or that mimic them synthetically (fentanyl, oxycodone). Recent restrictions on prescription drugs have led to a flood of cheap heroin to fill the gap, he says, and current treatment options are inadequate to fight the high addiction rates. He outlines how the Upstate New York Poison Center (hotline: 800-222-1222) is offering information and help to schools and the general public.