Heroin: A Growing Problem
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released troubling new statistics about heroin abuse in the United States. This trend should be of concern to all.
The CDC reports:
Heroin use has increased across the US among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels. Some of the greatest increases occurred in demographic groups with historically low rates of heroin use: women, the privately insured, and people with higher incomes. Not only are people using heroin, they are also abusing multiple other substances, especially cocaine and prescription opioid painkillers. As heroin use has increased, so have heroin-related overdose deaths. Between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, and more than 8,200 people died in 2013.
Why is this trend occurring? Reports suggest that it is the prescription drug abuse epidemic that is the root cause of this change in drug use. When individuals are no longer able to get the prescription painkillers they want from doctors and/or those drugs are not available on the streets at an affordable price, many people switch to heroin because it is cheap and easily accessible.
There is one small bit of good news in this dismal bit of information. A lot of people feel justified to use prescription medications. After all, they are prescribed by a doctor and so they are viewed as both safe and often necessary. However, when people switch to heroin, they are often appalled to find that they are truly addicts. This is our opportunity to reach out and help them get into treatment. In that moment of horror and disgust that the addiction is real and growing, we can offer hope, love and support.
If you know someone who is struggling with abuse of prescription medications or heroin, seek help. There are quality treatment options available that can give the person you love their life back.