Heroin Addiction in the US: An Epidemic That Continues to Grow
Unfortunately, heroin addiction in the US is in an upward trend. In 2006, 90,000 people tried heroin for the first time. The number of first time heroin users has soared since then, rising to 156,000 in 2012.
Overall, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that 669,000 Americans dabbed with heroin in 2012. Even worse, that number is not looking to go down any time soon.
Are you one of these people who are addicted to heroin? It’s time to get the help you need.
Call us now at 800-891-9360 to learn more about your treatment options and reclaim your life.
The Grim Statistics
Not Just in Cities
Heroin used to be mainly contained to larger cities, as it was easier for people to get drugs illegally. Unfortunately, the reign of heroin as a power drug is spreading into more rural populations.
For example, several small communities outside of St. Louis and Chicago are reporting huge increases in the number of heroin overdose deaths and amount of heroin seized by officials.
These two instances are not the exception, as suburban regions all over the country are facing this new epidemic.
Not Just for Adults
Perhaps one of the most disappointing facts about heroin addiction is the age of those involved. The age group that saw the biggest increase in heroin abuse were young adults ages 18 to 25.
If there’s one good thing to consider, it’s that heroin use for teens ages 12 to 17 was on the decrease. In fact, it was at the lowest levels ever recorded in 2012.
Not Just Heroin
Heroin users rarely just use heroin. They often combine their abuse with other drugs, such as cocaine and prescription painkillers, in order to get the best high possible. Most people use at least three other drugs at the same time.
People who start out taking other drugs are also more likely to transition over to heroin eventually. For example, alcoholics are twice as likely to be addicted to heroin, marijuana users are three times more likely, cocaine users are 15 times more likely, and prescription painkiller users are 40 times more likely.
What Has Caused This Spike?
Most people don’t set out to become addicted to heroin. Instead, they slowly build up their opioid tolerance until they find that they need something a little stronger to obtain the same high.
Many people are given opioid painkillers as a prescription for painful conditions. Doctors are fond of handing out these prescriptions, which has caused the number of opioid prescriptions to rise from 76 million in 1991 to 207 million in 2013.
Unfortunately, many people end up getting addicted. Opioid painkiller addiction caused 16,651 people to die in the United States in 2010, a number which has tripled since 1990.
Because your body will eventually build a tolerance to these painkillers, heroin is the next step in the addiction. It is stronger and will allow you to keep getting high without having terrible withdrawal symptoms.
What Can Be Done to Stop It?
While the prospects might seem dismal, there is hope. Here are just a few of the things that we can do to put an end to this epidemic:
- Provide better access to treatment, including inpatient facilities, medication-assisted detox, and therapy.
- Provide better education to both patients and doctors on the threat of opioid painkiller addiction.
- Lobby for better insurance coverage for addiction treatment programs.
- Learn the signs and symptoms of heroin addiction and how you can help.
We do have a long battle ahead of it, but if we all work together, heroin addiction in the US can and will be crushed.
If you’re ready to get help for your heroin addiction, there’s no better time than now.
Call us now at 800-891-9360 before it’s too late.