When news reports mention drug addicts, many picture homeless people hunkering down in squalid alleys to shoot heroin. But thanks to the opioid epidemic, there's a rise in suburban heroin addiction, or what Dr. Phil McGraw calls 'Soccer Mom Heroin Addicts.' The celebrity psychologist says this phenomenon of middle-class addicts is the result of over-prescribing legitimate opioid medications like Oxycontin to treat legitimate health problems.
The problem isn't with the patient but the medication itself, in most cases. Because opioids are so addictive, your chances of getting hooked increase exponentially the longer you take them.
"If you are taking those opioids at the seven-day mark, your chances of being addicted at one year are 1 in 12," McGraw told Joe Rogan last week. "And if you're still taking them at 30 days, your likelihood of being addicted is 1 in 3."
And that's happening all too often because doctors are writing too many prescriptions for too many pills.
"Opioids are so readily prescribed right now that there are enough opioid prescriptions for every man, woman and child in America to have their own bottle," Dr. Phil added. "These things are getting written with way too high a pill count, so we're seeing a whole different kind of addiction now coming out from the suburbs."
And that includes the last sort of people you'd expect to become addicts.
"You're seeing soccer mom heroin addicts that you're not seeing 10 years ago. Because they get started on prescription opioids and they can't afford them, or finally the doctor cuts them off, but they're addicted, so they start taking heroin because it's cheaper."
Dr. Phil also discussed how he thinks the government should combat the opioid epidemic. Check out his thoughts in the clip below.