Heroin and opioid addiction is tearing families apart at rates never before seen. Some addicts are stitching their lives together with lots of help, while others are seemingly struggling as they look to get clean on their own. Spectrum News explored the issue in an hour-long documentary, The Cost of Heroin, which was followed by a live town hall with experts.
Opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant, including heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and many others.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, opioids are often used as medicines because they contain chemicals that relax the body and can relieve pain. Opioids can cause people to feel "high" and are very addictive. According to the NIDA, heroin is one of the world's most dangerous opioids.