Recently released statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that heroin use has been on the rise. A new CDC report details that since 2007, the number of people using heroin in the United States has grown by 150 percent when comparing use rates in 2007 to 2013, with close to half a million Americans using the drug.
Heroin, which is made from extract of the poppy plant, is an opioid drug that can be taken into the body by various methods. It can be smoked, injected or snorted and carries a high risk of addiction. Those who use prescription opioid pain medications may end up turning to heroin to get their fix. While the CDC's report highlights the increase in heroin use, it also notes that users of the drug are also using other substances at the same time, with cocaine being the drug most frequently cited. The chances of experiencing an overdose increase when heroin is taken in combination with other substances.
Other findings from the report shed light on which groups of people are using heroin the most. Although men have historically been the biggest users of the drug, the number of women using it has been on the rise as well. According the CDC's findings, white men who make less than $20,000 and are between the ages of 18 and 25 represent the biggest increase in the number of heroin users. However, usage has gone up among all groups and has doubled for women as well.
Opioid drugs often play a role in heroin use, with many individuals turning to heroin as a cheaper way to obtain an effect similar to that of prescription opioids. As TIME notes, heroin is often more affordable than prescription pills, so some users find heroin to be more easily obtainable. In fact, those who are addicted to prescription medications may be 40 times more likely to become heroin addicts, and those already using cocaine may be 15 times more likely to also become addicted to heroin, according to the report.
Using heroin runs the risk of overdosing, and in some cases may lead to complications such as contracting infectious diseases like HIV or hepatitis. Chronic users of the drug may experience adverse health effects like collapsed veins, liver or kidney disease and permanent organ damage. It is important for heroin users to receive proper treatment in order to recover from addiction and dependency.
Fairwinds addiction treatment centers were founded in 1989 by Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef and have been helping those struggling with addiction recover ever since. Fairwinds uses a dual diagnosis approach to identify and treat the addiction and its underlying causes. If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction, there is help. Contact Fairwinds today to learn about our comprehensive treatment programs.