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A recent press release from the Associated Press reported a huge spike this year in heroin-related emergency room visits in the state of Virginia, and those numbers are expected to continue to rise.

The Numbers- And Possible Factors

The Virginia Department of Health reported almost 500 such visits in the first four months of 2016 alone, with the most common diagnosis being “unintentional heroin overdose.” These numbers are a huge spike over the same time period last year, causing public health officials to cast blame on the system for restricting access to prescription painkillers. As in many other states, Virginia has cracked down on misuse of prescription opiates and physician responsibility, emphasizing use of the state’s prescription drug monitoring program and creating guidelines for physicians and emergency room departments to prevent overprescribing of highly addictive opiate medications. However, this crackdown has left many opiate addicts with nowhere to turn but to heroin and other illegal opiates.

A Generation Lost

The sad truth of the matter is that while the efforts of state and federal agencies to restrict and rein in the prescribing of opiate medications are admirable and necessary, they do little to help those that developed their habits under the more laissez-faire prescribing guidelines. What this means is that the very system that created many of the existing heroin addicts, are now punishing them for seeking out relief in the only means they have left- illegal opiates such as heroin and fentanyl. These numbers in Virginia only make clearer the desperate need for quality addiction treatment, and a measure of responsibility for these addicts by the lax healthcare system that contributed to their opiate dependence.

Help is Available

If you or someone you know is struggling with heroin or opiate addiction, call the treatment professionals at Serenity Acres today: 1-800-203-2024. Overdose doesn’t have to be part of your story.