How Opiate Medication Led to Heroin Addiction

A Belfast man who sold heroin to undercover police officers has been spared jail, given a three-year probationary sentence instead. Adam Beattie’s ill health played a role in him avoiding jail; it was these health issues that led him to a heroin addiction in the first place.

Police Operation

Beattie was arrested as part of an undercover police operation aimed at investigating Belfast’s drug supply problem. As part of the operation, undercover police officers made contact with some of Belfast’s ground level suppliers and Beattie was one of them. Beattie told the officers that he could get the drugs they wanted once they arrived from Dublin. Both parties exchanged phone numbers.

During a ‘meet’, Beattie sold a ‘wrap’ of heroin to a female officer and told her it was ‘good gear’. His home was later searched and officers found cannabis in a bedroom. He was arrested and he admitted the offences. He pleaded guilty to charges of possession and supplying heroin.

Health Issues

Beattie began taking OxyContin for a chronic medical condition but when he realised that heroin was cheaper, he began taking the Class A drug instead. However, he has been trying to get clean and is currently in a treatment programme. He also told of how he had been threatened by drug dealers and forced to sell the drugs at street level but was trying to distance himself from these dealers. It was these factors that convinced the judge to give him a probation order rather than a prison sentence.

‘Hillbilly’ Heroin

Oxycontin is known as ‘hillbilly’ heroin because of the fact that it acts in a similar way to heroin in terms of its effect on the nervous system. Many addicts take OxyContin as a substitute for heroin, while some take it as a supplement.

The drug is prescribed by doctors for conditions that cause severe pain; the problem, however, is that it is a highly addictive drug. Many users of OxyContin will become dependent on it and, when their prescription is lessened, will look for a similar substance, which often comes in the form of street heroin.

There have been concerns of late regarding the number of people being prescribed opiate drugs such as OxyContin because of the growing numbers becoming addicted to prescription painkillers. These types of drugs should only be prescribed for short-term use and not in high doses.

Problems with Prescribed Painkillers

One of the problems with prescribed painkillers is the fact that many patients do not think they can become addicted. They are convinced that nothing prescribed by a doctor could be bad for them. They do not realise that some drugs, while beneficial for severe pain caused by conditions such as cancer, could possibly result in an addiction.

Not everyone taking prescription painkillers will become dependent on them but there is always that risk. Some individuals are naturally more susceptible to addiction than others are and there is a worry that being prescribed opiate drugs will lead them on to heavier drugs.

What to Do If You Suspect an Addiction to Prescription Drugs

If you think you might have developed a dependency on a prescribed drug or if you think a loved one has become addicted, then you should speak to your doctor. Alternatively, you can call us here at Addiction Helper. We can put you in touch with the people you need to speak to in order to beat this addiction. Our team of expert advisors can assess your situation and provide you with information and support regarding the various treatments available. Call us today and we will help you to get better.


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