This past weekend the world learned the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman was caused by an overdose of injecting heroin into his body. While heroin use is not 'soaring' as has been sensationally reported this week on CNN and MSNBC, it has been on the increase. Seemingly unrelated, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi continues her crusade against those seeking pain medication. Just yesterday it was reported Bondi asked for and received the conviction of a Broward County doctor who's pain clinic was raided in 2012. As it turns out, the two are related, as Bondi cracks down on legal drugs, addicts go after illegal drugs. Rather than deal with the issue of addiction, Florida has prison beds to fill, so the powers that be continue to arrest and convict.
What is often not in Pam Bondi's press releases touting her arrests and convictions of pain clinic doctors is how the void she is creating is a contributing factor in the rise of heroin use when it had previously been on the decline. Several drug rehabilitation centers in South Florida have seen a rise of admissions using heroin instead of pain medication addictions to oxycodone and other prescription drug medications. In 2012 the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office reported seizing 15 pounds of heroin while in 2011 they only seized 3 pounds of the illegal substance. Only 20 grams were seized in 2010.
In a 2013 article for the Sun-Sentinel titled "Heroin taking oxy's place for more addicts", founder and CEO of Destination Hope, Ben Brafman said, "What's happening is that heroin has become vogue again. It's so available. Any kid can get it off the street." From the same article 32 year old Sean, a patient at Destination Hope said, "Once all the pill mills started shutting down, people like me just switched to something easier and cheaper to get, and that's heroin. It's a supply and demand thing."
"Young adults, 18-30, white, prescription opioid addicts are making the transition to heroin," said Jim Hall of Nova Southeastern University’s Center for Applied Research on Substance Abuse and Health Disparities at a national drug abuse conference last year in New Mexico. He added, “For these opioid addicts, it’s about a euphoria but more importantly, the heroin keeps them from going into withdrawal, or as they would say, from getting sick. Any port will do in the storm of withdrawal.”