The National Institute on Drug Abuse writes that heroin abuse is associated with many serious health conditions, which include fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, and infectious diseases like hepatitis and HIV. HealthDay reported on Aug. 22, 2013, that abuse of painkillers raises the risk of heroin use. A U.S. government report has suggested illegal use of prescription pain drugs increases a person's risk of becoming a heroin user.
It was found by the researchers that Americans between 12 to 49 years old who had used prescription pain relievers illegally were 19 times more likely to have started using heroin within the past year than other people in that same age group. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report added that nearly 80 percent of people who recently started using heroin had previously used prescription pain relievers illegally.
Dr. Peter Delany, director of SAMHSA's Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, said in a news release, "Prescription pain relievers, when used properly for their intended purpose, can be of enormous benefit to patients, but their nonmedical use can lead to addiction, serious physical harm and even death." Delany has also pointed out that this report shows that abuse of painkillers can also greatly increase an individual's risk of turning to heroin use, which presents us with a new dimension of potential harm.