Heroin use is on the rise in the United States and with the increased use also comes more heroin overdose deaths. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that heroin use has been growing since 2002, leading the agency to dub this time period a heroin “epidemic.” The report also found that heroin users are more likely to use other substances as well, which has contributed to the increase in overdose deaths.
The report, released by the CDC July 7, found that heroin use increased 63 percent from 2002 to 2013. Around 517,000 people admitted to using heroin within the last year in 2013. Sadly, more than 8,000 people died of heroin overdoses during that same year. In fact, heroin overdose deaths quadrupled from 2002 to 2013.
Authors of the report cited two primary reasons for the alarming uptick in heroin use; lower costs to purchase heroin on the street and an increased abuse of prescription opiate painkillers, which often leads to heroin use. According to the report, prescription opiate abuse is the strongest risk factor for heroin use. The study also found that as many as 96 percent of heroin users also use another substance, including prescription drugs.
The Dangers of Heroin
Heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug that causes what is known as a “rush.” Because the rush only lasts a few minutes, users will continue to take heroin to maintain the sensation. The drug is highly addictive and some users can get hooked even after their first use.
Heroin has a number of effects on the body, including foggy mental function, slowed breathing, sedation and hypothermia. When an overdose occurs, the drug leads to coma and death. The drug is often combined with other drugs or alcohol, making the chance of an overdose even higher.
In its report, the CDC offers a number of options for curbing heroin use:
- Changes to prescription protocols for opiate painkillers
- Increased access to substance abuse treatment services
- Additional training and access to naloxone, a drug that can reverse a heroin overdose
- Partnering with law enforcement to curb the influx of heroin
The staff at Pasadena Recovery Center sees the devastating effects of heroin addiction every day. We work with patients to help them overcome their addiction and discover a new life of sobriety and a higher quality of life. If you are struggling with an addiction to heroin or another substance, help is available. Contact Pasadena Recovery Center today at 866-663-3030 to get the help you need.