IV Drug Abuse
IV drug abuse is most commonly associated with heroin, and although it primarily is heroin that is used intravenously, Methamphetamines, Cocaine, Morphine, Amphetamines, and even prescription drugs are also abused through IV injection.
An estimated 13.5 million people in the world use opioids, which includes 9.2 million who specifically use heroin, some estimate figures as high as 900,000 in the US alone, while the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported 153,000 current heroin users. Drugs related to the opium flower, besides heroin, which were all originally medical pain relieving drugs include but aren’t limited to Methamphetamine, Morphine, Codeine, Methadone, Laudanum, Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet some of which dated back as far as the 16th century. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime gave a report of amphetamine-type stimulants totaling 24.7 million abusers.
Friends and Family
Friends and family surrounding the IV drug abusers suffer tremendously by watching almost helplessly as their loved one dwindles downwards in addiction thereby ruining their life, and they, too, are the casualties of IV drugs. The addicted know the hardships they are causing on their friends and family and upon themselves but are driven to it by the painful mental and physical effects of the drug. Some stories of heroin addicts and other IV abusers are:
“You believe that coke will increase your perceptions, that it will allow you to surpass yourself, that you will be able to control things. It’s bloody nonsense. After a while you don’t pay your bills anymore, you don’t wash yourself anymore, you give up your friends, your family. You will become defenseless and alone.” —Nigel
“Heroin cut me off from the rest of the world. My parents kicked me out. My friends and my brothers didn’t want to see me anymore. I was all alone.”—Suzanne
One of the worst hidden casualties of IV drug abuse is the most delicate and unsuspecting victims: babies. In the last decade, babies being born addicted to drugs have increased by a staggering 500 percent, and according to a study done by the University of Michigan, a baby is born every hour addicted to some sort of opiate in the US.
Cocaine, the second most trafficked illegal drug in the world, like heroin and the other aforementioned drugs, is also used for IV injection. Cocaine is a multi-billion dollar enterprise worldwide and is one of the most dangerous drugs due to the higher and higher dosages the addicted needs because of the adapting tolerance levels of the body. Even schoolchildren as young as eight become addicted, not to mention the children born to cocaine-addicted mothers, many of which are afflicted with birth defects.
Being born addicted to drugs and suffering from withdrawal is medically termed as Neo-Natal Abstinence Syndrome, NAS. This is unimaginably painful for the baby. The same study mentioned above revealed that 13,539 babies are born with NAS each year. It is hard to realize that mothers who are addicted continue to use while pregnant resulting in newborns arriving suffering from extreme withdrawal symptoms every 25 minutes. In just one decade, the babies being born addicted to drugs quadrupled in the US, Kentucky is one of the worst hit, with originally just 28 drug-dependent babies born in the year 2000, to an unbelievable 1,409 in 2014.
“Welfare money was not enough to pay for our meth habit and support our son so we turned our rented home into a meth lab. We stored the toxic chemicals in our refrigerator not knowing that the toxins would permeate [go into] the other food in the icebox.
When I gave my three-year-old son some cheese to eat, I did not know that I was giving him poisoned food. I was too stoned on meth to notice, until twelve hours later, that my son was deathly ill. But then I was so stoned it took me two hours to figure out how to get him to the hospital five miles away. By the time I got to the emergency room my boy was pronounced dead of a lethal dose of ammonia hydroxide—one of the chemicals used to make meth.” —Melanie
Not just US babies are tortured from NAS, it is a worldwide issue. Addiction plagues not only the user and those that surround her but also her innocent newborn.
It is known what the drug user inflicts upon himself. We have covered what the family and friends go through and also the faultless babies, not only are they pained, but the community around him hurts, the taxpayers of the country endure, and still, the society as a whole suffers.
According to the Center on Addiction Research, federal, state, and local governments spend close to $500 billion each year on addiction and substance abuse. Over the past four decades, they have spent over 1 trillion dollars on the war on drugs and taxpayers are the ones who get stuck with the bill.
There are various infections related to opioid drug use, including MRSA which costs around $6 billion a year to treat in the U.S., or $60,000 per patient, and Endocarditis which costs around $50,000 a year. One example of a single uninsured user’s four treatments of Endocarditis was almost $400,000 and that wasn’t including her cardiac surgery or other past and potential future treatments due to her addiction.
The average cost for a baby’s stay in the hospital is also over $50,000. Heroin addicts and other IV Drug addicts affect more people than probably thought imaginable. The addicted, their family, friends, neighbors, and society as a whole are dramatically traumatized by drugs.
Stories of Heroin Addicts
Stories of heroin addiction are as numerous as there are heroin addicts, 9.2 million users, if not more when considering the friends and families who are casualties of the heroin user with their own stories.
Some personal stories of heroin addiction are:
“From the day I started using, I never stopped. Within one week I had gone from snorting heroin to shooting it. Within one month I was addicted and going through all my money. I sold everything of value that I owned and eventually everything that my mother owned. Within one year, I had lost everything.
I sold my car, lost my job, was kicked out of my mother’s house, was $25,000 in credit card debt, and living on the streets of Camden, New Jersey. I lied, I stole, I cheated.
I was raped, beaten, mugged, robbed, arrested, homeless, sick and desperate. I knew that nobody could have a lifestyle like that very long and I knew that death was imminent. If anything, death was better than a life as a junkie.”—Alison
“Drugs equal death. If you do nothing to get out, you end up dying. To be a drug addict is to be imprisoned. In the beginning, you think drugs are your friend (they may seem to help you escape the things or feelings that bother you). But soon, you will find you get up in the morning thinking only about drugs.
Your whole day is spent finding or taking drugs. You get high all afternoon. At night, you put yourself to sleep with heroin. And you live only for that. You are in a prison. You beat your head against a wall, nonstop, but you don’t get anywhere. In the end, your prison becomes your tomb.” —Sabrina
“People believe that heroin is super, but you lose everything: job, parents, friends, confidence, your home. Lying and stealing become a habit. You no longer respect anyone or anything.”—Pete (Quotes of users taken from Foundation for a Drug-Free World)
Heroin Addiction Recovery Stories
Heroin addiction recovery stories are sadly less numerous but are nevertheless inspiring and give heroin addicts and their families hope. Furthermore, when broader reaching, they have the possibility of getting other heroin addicts recovered, once and for all.
They range from someone like Christina’s who started from painkiller addiction to someone like Corey’s who went through his addiction and came out the other end, wanting to help other people. Watch their videos and see their full heroin addiction recovery stories.