According to Lakeview Health, heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs in the state of Illinois. Heroin is a potent and highly addictive opiate drug with no accepted medical uses. 

If you are like many people who become addicted to heroin, you did not start out using it. More likely, your addiction began with a prescription opioid that a doctor provided to you to treat a legitimate medical condition. 

What prescription opioids can cause addiction?

Opioid medications such as hydrocodone or oxycodone are extremely effective at controlling pain by intercepting nerve signals before they can register in the brain. Therefore, it is common for doctors to prescribe opioids for post-surgical pain or a serious injury. Every year in the United States, doctors prescribe and pharmacists fill approximately 200 million prescriptions for opioid pain medications. 

Many people who follow the instructions of their pharmacists take opioid pain medications without becoming addicted. However, some develop a dependence on the drug, which puts them into a predicament when the prescription runs out and they cannot obtain any more medication. 

How can you become addicted to opioids?

When you take opioids for a prolonged period of time, you develop a tolerance for it. This means that the original dosage is no longer effective, and you need to take more to achieve the same results. 

How can prescription opioid addiction lead to heroin use?

Three-fourths of heroin users started out using prescription opioids for legitimate medical purposes. Having developed a tolerance to prescription preparations, they moved on to heroin, which is not only more potent but more accessible and more affordable. This is especially true in Illinois, which is a convenient hub for traffickers of illicit drugs like heroin due to its central location.