Two of the most dangerous drugs abused in Arizona are heroin and methamphetamine. Heroin is a Schedule I narcotic with no accepted medical uses, but the effects are similar to opioid painkillers. Methamphetamine is a Schedule II stimulant, meaning that it has limited medical uses. However, it is rare for doctors to prescribe methamphetamine to patients, so its use is almost always illicit.
Because opioids and methamphetamine can be so dangerous, there are regulations in place to try to prevent people from using them. However, these have not always been as effective as the people who enacted them hoped.
Heroin users often start with prescription pain medications
Opioids are effective at relieving pain, but they are expensive and there are controls on doctors’ ability to prescribe them. Many people first become addicted to painkillers and then can no longer access them when their prescriptions run out. According to Desert Cove Recovery, many of these people turn to heroin instead because its effects are similar and it is more accessible and affordable.
Changes in the law have led to methamphetamine smuggling
In 2005, Congress passed a federal law called the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act. Its intent was to prevent the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine in the United States, in part by placing controls on the precursor substances needed to produce it. While the changes to the law have helped to curtail the domestic production of methamphetamine, people who use it are obtaining it from a different source.
Most of the heroin and methamphetamine used in the United States comes from Mexico in smuggling operations. Because the drugs are so dangerous, criminal charges related to their possession or distribution can be severe.