Drug Policy

Florida's 'Successful' Fight Against Pain Pills Turns Addicts Toward Heroin

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Not responsible for heart or head pains caused by following the news

Government efforts to halt easy access to prescription pain medication (on the basis of keeping it out of the hands of addicts) has had horrifying side effects for suffering people in Florida, as Mike Riggs noted a week ago. It turns out the side effects aren't all that much better for the addicts the state has been trying to stop. Take away their pain pills, and they turn to heroin instead.

The Miami Herald reports:

Kevin Foley stood before a judge in Broward County's drug court — fellow abusers sitting behind in him in the pews — talking about the fitful life of a recovering addict, the random drug tests, the counseling and what he hoped was his next, clean chapter.

Foley, 21, has been hooked on heroin for nearly two years. Before that, he was popping oxycodone and other prescription pills snapped up as Florida become a bustling marketplace of illegal pill mills. He turned to heroin after his drug of choice became too expensive. "I was chasing the next high," says Foley, who landed in drug court after a heroin possession arrest in December. "I wanted to try it all."

Heroin is inching back in Florida, the unintended consequence of the state's epic war on prescription pills. Now, with Florida officials successfully slowing the supplies, shutting down the pill mills that masqueraded as pain centers and arresting thousands of addicts and even doctors, heroin has become a popular substitute.

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  1. “Unintended” consequences my ass.

    Also “unintended”, I’m sure, is that people I know with legitimate long-term pain can’t get treatment because all the doctors down here are terrified.

    1. Whatever happened to R C Dean?

    2. Have pain patients too been turning to heroin?

  2. Heroin is inching back in Florida, the unintended consequence of the state’s epic war on prescription pills.

    who says it’s unintended? Drug warriors have a much easier time maintaining their power when heroin is at issue rather than a pain killer that can be used by all sorts of people for bona fide health reasons.

  3. In my Hell of Karmic Punishments, everyone in the DEA will have the meat gnawed off their pelvis every morning by methed up eagles and be given only a single Advil for the pain.

    1. Sugarfree’s Hell of Karmic Punishments … new series on Showtime?

      1. Just wait until Season Two. The first episode is using a giant dung beetle robot to make Justin Beiber have sex with a woman.

          1. Why would you do that to a poor woman? I can’t think of anything that that would be a justifiable punishment for. Except maybe refusing oral.

  4. He turned to heroin after his drug of choice became too expensive. “I was chasing the next high,” says Foley, who landed in drug court after a heroin possession arrest in December. “I wanted to try it all.”

    There was nobody available for the article who had turned to an illegal drug because they had legitimate issues with pain management and no available prescript med?

    Also, doesn’t “While the raw numbers remain small across Florida and police have seen little street activity” sort of undermine the theme?

    One small bit of good news – “The 911 Good Samaritan Act, which went into effect in Florida last year, protects callers from prosecution for possession or ingesting low-level controlled substances under some circumstances.”

    1. I’m assuming a “low-level controlled substance” is, like, Benadryl.

      1. Thanks for raining on my tiny bit of hope.

        Of course, you are almost assuredly correct.

        1. In fact, the text of the bill makes no reference at all to amounts or types of controlled substances. It just says you can’t prosecute someone who takes someone to the hospital, or the person taken to the hospital (or getting other medical attention), based on evidence gathered solely because they were seeking medical attention.

      2. I figured it was a really poor way of saying small quantities. I mean, the law has to be meant mostly to encourage treatment of opiate and other “hard drug” overdoses I would think.

    2. Also, doesn’t “While the raw numbers remain small across Florida and police have seen little street activity” sort of undermine the theme?

      The day I realized 90% of the content of the news and public servants were exactly like that was the last day I paid them any serious mind. They’re all just in the drama business but aren’t good enough writers to get paying jobs in the legitimate part of show business.

  5. Any and all Drug Warriors should have their kneecaps broken with a ball-peen hammer. Then THEY can deal with chronic pain.

    Swine.

    1. You don’t go nearly far enough. Anyone who is not for complete legalization of all drugs is complicit in murder and torture of many thousands of people. I’ll give your typical apathetic citizen a provisional pass, but anyone with any awareness of how it all works is culpable. I’m not all that big on retribution, so you can decide what they deserve.

  6. See… There is such a thing as a gateway drug. Shhh… Don’t tell anyone that drug is government.

    1. “I learned it from you, Florida! Alright! From you!”

  7. Same story around here. As the cops have cracked down on pill sellers, there’s been a rash of heroin overdoses. I guess it’s better that people die from an inconsistent illegal product than allow people to legally get high.

  8. This sort of happened here. For a few years there were copious amounts of pain pills around (I think they came from florida) and as the market slowly dried up heroin took over and is all over the place.

  9. I recently sent a letter to the local paper making the case that if you want to close the gateway to hard drugs, make marijuana illegal. An alcohol retailer isn’t going to hand out samples of crack, nor will they refer you to someone who might have heroin for sale. Vendors of legal marijuana would be no different. I’m sure that all it did was put me on a watch list of some sort.

    1. if you want to close the gateway to hard drugs, make marijuana illegal

      Are you writing from Colorado or Washington?

      1. Curse you! If it weren’t for you and your meddling typing, I would have snarked away with it!

        1. They may have cracked down on the pain pills in FL, but they still give away the uppers ADD meds like candy!

      2. I’m writing from Maine where a bill to legalize the stuff was just killed in committee, saving elected representatives from having to actually vote on it.

    2. “make marijuana illegal”

      Typo? Irony?

      1. Typo. He was distracted by a saucy puppet show.

        1. Or the pilot of Sugarfree’s Hell of Karmic Punishments.

        2. Distracted by an exceedingly thin wmoan.

  10. Heroin is inching back in Florida,

    When did it ever inch out?

    apropos

  11. Um, why should the taxpayers or insureds of Florida have to subsidize the exorbitant costs of pill poppers–their doctors’ bills, their Oxycontin/Opana prescriptions, which puts gobs of money into Pharma accounts? Why NOT heroin? It’s cheaper, and it’s available without government regulation.
    Doctors this way don’t have to worry about being sued when their patients overdose on pills.
    Am I missing something?

    1. Heroin is far more likely to give you staph and cause your skin to melt off.

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