A new study by JAMA Pediatrics concludes that teen opioid users are likely to use heroin as well. It’s really not surprising, since both substances work in similar ways on the brain, and for teens, heroin may be easier to acquire as well. UPI offers a summary:
More than 13 percent of young people who currently use prescription opioids recreationally also used heroin after high school, according to a study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. But nearly 11 percent of those who stopped using prescription opioids recreationally also moved on to heroin after graduation.
That’s compared to only 1.7 percent of teens who didn’t get high on opioids during high school school but still used heroin after graduation.
“Prescription opioids and heroin activate the brain’s pleasure circuit in similar ways,” Adam Leventhal, the director of the USC Institute for Addiction Science at USC and study senior author, said in a news release. “Teens who enjoy the ‘high’ from prescription opioids could be more inclined to seek out other drugs that produce euphoria, including heroin.”