Prescription Painkiller Addiction on the Main Line

The dissemination of prescription painkillers has spawned a new wave of addiction. As doctors and other healthcare professionals scramble to mitigate the damage in our region, many are succeeding in unexpected ways.

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Kampman estimates that three-quarters of all opiate addictions stem from prescription medications, the balance from heroin. And pills may well lead to heroin.

“Very few of these kids using heroin didn’t start out with prescription drugs,” adds DiMonte. “It’s [ultimately] cheaper for them to get a $10 bag of heroin.”

The typical teenager or young adult getting hooked on opiates could be from a wealthy Main Line family or living in foster care, middle-class or impoverished, a high-achiever or a slow learner. “It hits all walks of life,” says DiMonte.

Drug use becomes a common denominator. “It’s a subculture—they all know each other,” says DiMonte.

Indeed, the omnipresent cell phone makes getting acquainted and staying in touch an easy task. Even senior citizens have become part of the equation, as some have been reportedly selling their pain medications to augment limited incomes.  

The good news is that treatment options have increased. And while they can be expensive, the insurance climate in Pennsylvania is favorable.

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