North America, especially Canada and the USA, is experiencing a heroin epidemic that is gaining in strength and destroying families everywhere. The number of drug overdose deaths from this illegal street drug each day is staggering, and while authorities try to stem the tide and turn things around the use of heroin continues to grow. The exact cause of the most recent epidemic is a mix of things. Prescription pain medications are used for legitimate reasons at first, but then the user becomes dependent. Over time physicians may be less likely to prescribe a specific opioid drug in order to prevent abuse, and the user may turn to the street and heroin in order to get high instead. Since heroin is far less expensive than other opioids on the street but it offers the same effects it is often used as a substitute.
What can be done to stop the heroin epidemic though? One step is to provide treatment for those who are addicted, and to inform the public on how to reverse a drug overdose until help can arrive. Many areas are allowing heroin addicts and family members to get a prescription for Narcan, a drug that can quickly reverse an overdose of heroin and possibly save the life of the individual. Another issue is the lack of quality substance abuse treatment programs with inpatient treatment facilities, and the fact that even health insurances that cover addiction often will not pay for inpatient treatment for heroin abuse but they will for alcoholism.