Pharmaceutical opiates are now considered to be a more serious threat to public health than illicit drugs like heroin or cocaine. The widespread popularity of prescription analgesics like Vicodin (a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen), oxycodone (OxyContin), and Percocet (a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen) has made these drugs much more accessible to Americans, many of whom obtain the drugs without a prescription. The journal Pain Physician reports that out of the 5 million Americans who admitted to abusing pain relievers in 2010, only 17 percent obtained the drugs through a legitimate prescription.
This is an ongoing debate in the medical community, but it is generally agreed that there is no one cause for the development of addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, contributing factors may include a genetic predisposition to develop addictive tendencies, an environment that is permissive of drug abuse, access to illicit substances, and certain developmental issues. The existence of a Dual Diagnosis is one of the biggest risk factors for the development of addiction. Heroin Withdrawal | First Week In