We hear so much lately about heroin abuse and the opioid epidemic that it has led some people to fear this nationwide crisis. Other people dismiss the issue because they believe everything has been exaggerated. So what is the truth? What is really going on with heroin abuse in America?
The facts are as follows:
- More than 10,574 people died of a heroin-related overdose in 2014 (ASAM)
- The annual average rate of past-year heroin abuse in the US increased by more than 62 percent in roughly the past decade (CDC)
- 586,000 Americans had a substance use disorder involving heroin in 2014 (ASAM)
- From 2001 to 2014 there was a 6-fold increase in the total number of heroin deaths (SAMHSA)
- It is estimated that 23% of individuals who use heroin develop opioid addiction (ASAM)
While yes, you can argue that other drugs have caused more deaths over the years, are ruining more lives today, and need to be addressed, there are several reasons why heroin abuse in American should be cause for concern.
- Numbers are getting worse, quickly. The heroin problem pretty much snuck up on American communities. The fast rise in heroin abuse statistics, emergency room visits from this drug use, and overdose deaths are increasing year after year, and some of the increases are significant jumps. We need to stop the trend and do something about the issue now.
- A new population of users has arisen. Part of what is scary is the population of people who are becoming heroin addicts. While years ago, heroin was just an issue in big cities, among adult drug addicts, today it is the high school students, young adults, living in the suburbs, attending good schools, with seemingly bright futures ahead of them that are getting hooked on heroin. The fact that new heroin users do not fit the typical stereotype has caused much alarm and shed light on the issue very quickly.
How Dangerous Is Heroin Abuse?
Simply put, yes, heroin is very dangerous. It is extremely addicting, so that even after one time, users can get hooked. Heroin is the type of drug that makes people give up everything they have to get another high. Drug-seeking behavior is common among heroin addicts, and many will even incorporate other drugs or alcohol in order to achieve a better high.
Heroin is also dangerous because it is so closely connected to the prescription drug epidemic. Heroin is an opioid, in the same family as painkillers like oxycodone and morphine. It is very easy for someone to make the transition from prescription drugs to heroin, and statistics show that tens of thousands of Americans have done so. Because of this, young adults, businesspersons, parents, and people of all ages and socioeconomic status are giving up their dreams and their futures because they are addicted to heroin.
Finally, heroin abuse can easily lead to overdose. Heroin that is sold on the street varies in purity, strength, and types of contaminants. The drug itself is dangerous enough, but added to that are various substances that manufacturers will mix in, such as fentanyl, caffeine, chalk, starch, and talcum powder.
Yes, heroin is a major problem in America today. Its abuse has risen quickly and steadily, it now targets a wide range of people, and it is highly addictive and poses a risk for overdose.
Struggling with Heroin Abuse? Get Treatment at Citrus Recovery
If you or a loved one is using heroin, it is time to get help. Citrus Recovery offers hope for heroin addiction through our unique community recovery experience. Contact us at (855) 478-1034 today to learn more.