Dr Oz: Surprising New Faces of Heroin
The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman put Heroin use back in the headlines. US attorney general Eric Holder is among those speaking out about the drug’s risk to public health. Many people probably don’t think that Heroin is a problem for them, but Dr Oz put investigative reporter Elisabeth Leamy on the case.
Leamy reported that Heroin addiction can often start when someone is prescribed a pain medication. Once those refills run out, trouble can start, because there are always drug dealers willing to take your money.
Dr Oz: Heroin Highway
Heroin use has doubled in the past seven years, and a growing user base is suburban, middle class moms. DEA special agent in charge Jack Reilly took Leamy and Dr Oz’s cameras to the streets of Chicago, where West Side dealers will make transactions in broad daylight.
The Heroin Highway transports suburban users to the inner city. Leamy got a look at one ritzy neighborhood where overdoses are on the rise. Reilly said that the war on drugs has changed. Surveillance video showed everyday people making drug deals.
Dr Oz: Transitioning To Heroin
Back in the studio, Dr Sanjay Gupta and addiction specialist Seth Jaffe, a former heroin addict, participated in a conversation about heroin abuse.
Dr Gupta said it seemed for a time that Heroin use was on the decline. But the epidemic has flared in recent years. Seth Jaffe said that middle class users are transitioning from prescription painkillers to street drugs, whether because their prescriptions have run out or they need more to get their fix.
Jaffe suggested that the street value of Oxycodone is $1 per milligram, meaning one pill could be $80. However, Heroin is much cheaper on the street (think around $10), compared to prescription drugs.
Dr Oz: Heroin Vs Painkillers
Back in the ‘70s, Heroin was thought of as an inner city problem. But now it is found nearly everywhere, Dr Oz said. Seth Jaffe was a user in the 1970, and he said the biggest change since then is the chronic prescription of pain medicine.
“The real problem is this: the doctors who prescribe these pain medications do not understand addiction,” Jaffe said. “Their intentions are good,” but you cannot expect that an addict will take something as directed.
Dr Oz: Fentanyl In Heroin
The rapid transition to Heroin has alarmed Dr Oz and many others. By the time doctors stop prescriptions, Dr Gupta said it could already be too late.
Dr Oz also touched on Fentanyl, which can be mixed with Heroin and is suspected in some recent overdoses. Opium is the natural plant these drugs are derived from, and Fentanyl is one of the compounds, which can be much stronger than anything else out there.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, and when it is combined with Heroin, it could give you an overload. (Dr Oz compared it to mixing sugar with artificial sweetener.) When the body cannot handle it, you could die instantly.
Dr Oz: Are Drugs a Problem or Solution?
Can users know whether Heroin has been laced with Fentanyl? Seth Jaffe said that there is no way to tell, but he suspected that addicts are so interested in getting the strongest effects that they might not care.
Jaffe also spoke about the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, saying that his problem was not drugs. Instead, he was using drugs as a solution to some other underlying problem in life.
Dr Oz’s final advice on this subject was to be aware that anyone you know could be using Heroin. Think about the drugs you are taking and why, so that you do not unconsciously slide toward addiction.
Dr Sanjay Gupta has a new documentary coming to CNN. It’s called Weed 2: Cannabis Madness.