From Painkiller Abuse to Heroin Use

Ask someone who they think of when picturing a heroin addict, and they’re likely to describe a tattoo-painted teenage rebel rouser or a wizened former 60s rocker.

But a recent study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals a very different kind of drug addict.

According to the study, today’s heroin addict is just as likely to be a white, affluent suburbanite who began using at the age of 23. CLICK TO TWEET

Within the last few years, heroin has risen in popularity, outranking even rampant drugs such as crack. Deaths from heroin overdose have doubled between 2010 and 2012, and in 2013, almost 700,000 Americans used the drug. Studies show that use has increased for both men and women, among all age groups, and among all races.

In Colorado, the number of heroin users has doubled in the last five years, and the number of people seeking treatment for heroin abuse in this state within the last decade has tripled. And don’t forget that using heroin also counts as a drug crime in our state, so addicts are at risk of arrest as well.

Why the Sudden Surge in Heroin Use?

A recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health named Colorado as a top state for prescription painkiller abuse, finding six percent of the population of Colorado to be abusing these types of drugs. Prescription painkillers were inexpensive and abundant in the 90s, making it easy for many users in Colorado and the rest of the country to unintentionally become addicted. However, authorities have since taken serious measures to prevent medical professionals from oover prescribing pain medication.

What did this mean for painkiller pill addicts? Suddenly unable to obtain or afford high-priced painkillers, they sought out similar, substantially cheaper drugs such as heroin. Heroin is relatively easy to find in Colorado, and can be purchased on the street for around $10 to $25—a far cry less expensive than painkillers, which can cost as much as $100 per pill. So as the number of death from painkiller overdose is dropping, the number of deaths from heroin continues to skyrocket.

The Consequences of Heroin Use in Colorado

Colorado divides controlled dangerous substances into five schedules, with heroin falling into Schedule I for having among the highest potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Being found in possession of heroin is a felony, and is punishable by lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines. Being charged with sale or manufacturing of heroin can result in even harsher penalties, with even longer sentences and greater fines. The precise charge and penalty depends on the offender’s previous criminal history—if her or she has an existing record, the consequences will be severer.

While heroin may be growing in popularity, that doesn’t mean law officials are going to go easy on heroin offenders. Indeed, as the media brings more attention to this problem, law enforcers are cracking down even harder than before.

The best way to avoid landing in serious trouble for heroin is to avoid illegal drugs completely. They are dangerous, addictive, and can have a ruinous effect on your health and future. And if you have been charged with heroin possession, sale, or manufacturing, you face grave consequences. Colorado treats drug charges very seriously, and our courts are not inclined to be merciful towards these types of cases.

However, you shouldn’t dismiss your case as a lost cause—an experienced drug crimes lawyer with a track record of success can help you understand the charges against you, determine your options, and work to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.


When you’re charged with a drug crime, you need someone you trust working to protect your rights, freedom, and finances as soon as possible.


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