War on Prescription Pain Killers Leads to More Heroin Deaths


Predictable news from the War on Drugs' Wide World of Easily Anticipated Bad Consequences, as reported in the Baltimore Sun:

As efforts to crack down on the abuse of prescription drugs have worked, a new problem has emerged, withaddicts who can no longer get their fix by popping pills turning to the old-fashioned street drug heroin….

"The kids who got addicted to prescription pills are flipping to heroin, and, as a result, these kids are dropping like flies," said Mike Gimbel, a longtime drug counselor in Baltimore County who now works at University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center.

The number of statewide deaths from heroin overdoses increased 41 percent in the first seven months of this year compared with 2011, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said Friday. There were 205 heroin-related overdose deaths in the first seven months of 2012, compared with 145 during the same period the year before.

Overdose deaths related to prescription opioids like oxycodone,hydrocodone and methadone declined by 15 percent, from 208 to 177 in the same periods. Overall drug overdose deaths rose 6 percent.

All in the pointless and stupid pursuit of making sure people don't willingly use prescription pain killers, a war whose heartlessness was brutally told in Jacob Sullum's Reason classic from 1997, "No Relief in Sight."

Mike Riggs blogged in July on how "Tightening the Rules on Oxycontin Pushes Abusers and Pain Sufferers Toward More Dangerous Drugs."