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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Heroine is No Longer Just an Urban Problem -- Why Teens and Career Professionals are Turning to Heroine at a Staggering Rate

Heroine addiction is on the rise. Once considered an urban problem, heroine is now in the suburbs and rural parts of the country. The increase is staggering. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), heroine grew from 373,000 users in 2007 to 669,000 in 2012. As use increases, so do deaths.

Link between pain killers and heroine

Public health officials are concerned there may be a link between the increase in heroine use and prescription painkillers. Why? Because prescriptions like OxcyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin are in the same family of opiates as heroine. The scenario seems to be that users start out with prescriptions for pain, abuse, get hooked, then switch to heroine because it is cheaper. According to another SAMHSA study, those between the ages of 19-49 who abuse painkillers are 19 times more likely to use heroine.

What is triggering the increase in heroine?

One reason for the increase is the cost. Heroine is cheaper than other drugs, costing about $10 a bag. Also, it can be taken without a needle which explains why more people from the suburbs and rural areas are now open to the drug; this group previously stayed away from it because they wanted nothing to do with needles.

Supply is increasing, too, due to crooks like Mexican cartels who are shipping the drug all over the U.S. It's showing up in cities where there was never a heroine problem before. And it's attracting people like teenagers and college-educated professionals.

The link between prescription drugs and heroine is definitely something that officials are seriously looking into. Let's hope they do it quickly because the number of young people between 15-24 dying from heroine overdose more than doubled between 1999 and 2009. This is one problem that needs to be fixed immediately.
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