Aren't Prescription Painkillers and Heroin Different?

Published: December 02, 2019
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I heard that opioids are just heroin and prescription painkillers aren't addicting is that true? Aren't prescription painkillers and heroin different?
Signed: Aren't Prescription Painkillers and Heroin Different?

Dear Aren't Prescription Painkillers and Heroin Different?,

Unfortunately, this is a rumor that many people believe is true. In fact, prescription painkillers such as codeine, oxycodone, and morphine all come from the opium plant. Guess what? So does heroin. Many teenagers believe that heroin is completely different. The sad reality is that no one starts their path of drug abuse using heroin. There is ALWAYS another drug that leads them right to it. Teens can begin using any of these drugs and become addicted.

Soon after the addiction kicks in, it is very difficult to keep up with the price and teens turn to heroin as a result. Why? Heroin is much cheaper, but also way more dangerous. Heroin is an illegal substance whereas prescription painkillers are regulated by the FDA. With heroin, you never know what you are getting. There is always a risk. In fact, the National Institute of Drug Abuse explains, every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. That means someone dies approximately every 11 minutes. It can be laced with toxic and fatal substances such as fentanyl. Ever notice how small a single piece of salt is? That is the amount of fentanyl that kill someone and is often found in heroin.

After realizing how addicting prescription painkillers can be, many doctors are trying to avoid prescribing these drugs, especially to teenagers. However, it is up to you to become aware of the risks and know the facts about addiction and opioid use. We hope this helps answer your question!

Signed: TeenHealthFX