Expert: Fewer Pain Pill Prescriptions Lead to Increased Heroin Use

Posted at 8:59 PM, May 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-01 22:32:53-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 01, 2014) — Addiction and pain medicine specialist,  Doctor R. Corey Waller said that in recent years, there has been pressure on physicians to lower the amount of prescriptions they write for certain pain medications such as Vicodin and Oxycontin.

“Medications that were written a lot in the past, but currently because of all of the pressure in overdoses and the fact that in Michigan we have more deaths from overdose than we do car accidents. This leads to a decrease and has lead recently to a significant decrease in writing of these prescriptions by emergency departments, by family medicine doctors,” said Dr. Waller.

For patients who developed an addiction to prescription pills, Dr. Waller said that they will find their fix elsewhere.

“That person goes out to their dealer to get the medications and then the dealer doesn’t have them available because we are not making them as available as they were, but it doesn’t change the fact that you have a person who still has an addictive disorder,” said Dr. Waller.

The Grand Rapids Police Department said that so far this year,  there have been four heroin deaths and 24 overdoses reported.

Dr. Waller said that new batches of heroin hit the streets of Grand Rapids about every six weeks. Waller said that’s when emergency rooms see patients who have overdosed, and at the same time see a decrease in addicts trying to get treatment, since their drug of choice is available.

Warning signs of heroin use according to Dr. Waller are difficulty carrying a conversation, becoming socially isolated and increased anxiousness over insignificant things.