When my parents found out that I smoked cannabis as a teen, my dad sat me down and told me in all seriousness that marijuana would be the gateway to harder drugs like heroin, cocaine and so on. At the time I thought he and his “gateway” theory was just crazy talk.

Now though, it looks like we’re the ones that may have to sit our loved ones down and have the “gateway” talk about the possibility that prescription painkiller addiction leads to heroin abuse. I’m not kidding. It’s all over the news.

A USA Today Network paper in Sheboygan county, Wisconsin recently published an article entitled just that: Heroin and painkillers go hand in hand. Right in the first paragraph they state “one of the main contributors to the growing opioid epidemic: prescription pain killers.”

Their statistics show that as many as three in four heroin users become addicted to the drug after first becoming addicted to prescription pain killers. They go on to quote Jeremy Scarlett, a local medical director as saying “Last year in the United States 21,000 people died from prescription overdoses and 14,000 people died from heroin. It was a lot of people that were on prescription drugs that, for whatever reason, lost access to the pain medication and switched to heroin.”

And they aren’t the only ones touting these facts… Not by a long shot:

In an article entitled Tennessee could receive up to $24 million to fight heroin and painkiller addiction, the Chattanooga Times Free Press quotes U.S. Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack  saying “Forty-four percent of Americans say they know someone close to them who is dealing with an addiction issue. That is an incredible percentage. On average, 84 people will die of an overdose every day.”

Painkillers killed more people than heroin in Onondaga County last year screams the headlines out of Syracuse, New York. “Prescription painkiller deaths nearly doubled last year in Onondaga County, according to revised numbers from the Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office… The county, like the rest of the nation, is experiencing an epidemic of prescription painkiller and heroin abuse.”

The Journal Gazette and Times-Courier headlines in Illinois read “Painkillers become gateway drugs on path to heroin” and MPN Now of New York reads “Heroin ODs climb as painkiller overdoses begin to slide…”

I could go on and on quoting the news about the potential that prescription painkiller addiction leads to heroin abuse but CBSNews sums it up in an article entitled Heroin use in U.S. reaches “alarming” 20-year high, “…the National Institutes of Health reported “There have been a lot theories about why heroin use is going up. The biggest theory is that the crackdown on prescription drugs, like Vicodin and OxyContin, which were being overprescribed and as prescribers slowed down the prescriptions of these drugs, heroin use went up,” addiction expert Scott Krakower, an assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital, in New Hyde Park, New York.

So, grab your loved ones, hold them close and have that “gateway” talk about the good possibility that prescription painkiller addiction leads to heroin abuse. And if and when they’re ready, then have the “Ibogaine” talk and call us. We’re here to help.