“From 2002 to 2013, heroin dependence and abuse in the United States increased 90 percent, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in July. The rate of fatal overdoses quadrupled since 2000. Moreover, the number of Americans who said they’d used the drug in the last year went up by 65 percent; that means more than half a million people in the U.S. take heroin.
Notably, heroin use has been climbing among all demographic groups, including women, non-Hispanic whites, and the more affluent. Still, the growth in addiction has been most pronounced among white males between 18 and 25 years old.
Some of the areas worst hit are in Appalachia, the Midwest and New England, with a particularly acute 500-percent increase in overdoses in Kentucky.
“Most people, when they think of heroin, think of inner-city communities. They think of the heroin epidemic that hit the country in the 1970’s and affected people who were poor and not white,” said Andrew Kolodny, chief medical officer at Phoenix House, a nonprofit treatment organization.
“The heroin crisis we’re dealing with today is affecting suburbs and rural areas. It’s much more severe,” he added. “The worst drug epidemic in United States history.”
A massive surge in consumption of prescription painkillers took place between 1999 and 2010, as pharmaceutical sales for a wide range of synthetic opiates quadrupled.
Four out of five heroin addicts were previously hooked on another opioid substance. Prescription painkiller addicts are 40 times more likely than the general population to become addicted to heroin.”
Source: Aljazeera America – September 26, 2015