The American Heroin Epidemic


Heroin use in America traces back to the mid-1800s and is becoming more popular among people with historically low drug abuse. Prior addiction to prescription opioid painkillers is the strongest risk factor, making people 40 times more likely to start heroin. This is much more than marijuana users (three times) and alcohol users (two times). Most heroin addicts use at least three other drugs. The demographic groups with the highest rates of use include non-hispanic whites, men, age 18-25, uninsured, on Medicaid, and with income below $20,000. Use in the 18-25 age group has doubled in the last decade, and fatal overdoses have quadrupled. About 120 people die each day from a drug overdose. The actual number of heroin users could be much higher. The CDC recommends three steps to approach this epidemic: Identify high risk people to prevent them from starting heroin, increase access to medication-assisted treatment, and use naloxone – a life-saving drug – to reverse heroin overdoses.
Caba, Justin. “America’s Heroin Epidemic Explained: The Number Of People Under The Age Of 25 Using Heroin Has Doubled In The Past Decade.” The Grapevine. Medical Daily, 8 Jul 2015. Web. 13 Jul 2015.

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