Prescription painkillers can have a direct link to heroin addiction

Legitimate prescriptions leave many addicted

CLEVELAND - Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge David Matia presides over the county's drug court and what he sees every day should open the eyes of anyone who has received a prescription for painkillers from their doctor.

"Eighty percent of the Cuyahoga County felony court docket are either directly drug related or drug driven crimes" said Judge Matia. "Sixty percent in Drug Court are opiate dependent and half of them got their start by treating legitimate medical conditions, the rise is in prescription drugs [opiates] and when they can't get any more, they move to heroin."

The traditional view of drug addiction has changed. Now it includes our neighbors, co-workers and family members and a simple trip to the doctor for many was the catalyst that began their road to addiction.

Judge Matia suggests that everyone check their medicine cabinets, and those of our elderly parents, for unused prescription medications. That forgotten bottle of pills could be irresistible lure to a friend or family member.

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