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Heroin overdoses have quadrupled since 2002

Heroin overdoses have quadrupled since 2002

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have announced troubling new information about the current state of America’s heroin epidemic. According to their studies, heroin use has exploded since 2002, with large increases across both genders, most age ranges and all income levels. This highly addictive and harmful drug has caused upwards of 8,200 deaths by overdose in 2013 alone. A close examination of the CDC’s research can provide valuable insight into the problem as well as reveal opportunities to reverse the trend.

Who is most at risk of heroin addiction?

While heroin use has increased among most demographics, the CDC’s research shows that certain populations are more at risk than others. Heroin addiction is most common among non-Hispanic white males. On the other hand, heroin use is spreading even more rapidly among women, with the number of female heroin addicts increasing at nearly twice the rate of men. Across both genders, heroin disproportionately preys upon the urban poor. Most heroin users live in large metropolitan centers, earn less than $20,000 a year and lack medical insurance. With heroin use going hand-in-hand with poverty, it should come as no surprise that the drug is often only one problem among many facing today’s addicts.

The people most at risk of heroin addiction are those who are already addicted to another narcotic. The CDC’s research shows that nine out of 10 heroin addicts are also addicted to at least one other drug. In fact, most are addicted to at least three drugs. Alcoholics are twice as likely to become addicted to heroin, while those who abuse cocaine are 15 times more likely. The most commonly associated drugs with heroin addiction are prescription painkillers. Opiate addicts are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin. In fact, 45 percent of heroin addicts are also opiate abusers. The abuse of multiple drugs simultaneously presents unique challenges in the fight to reverse the tide of addiction.

Solutions for heroin addiction

While the rapid increase in heroin addiction is dire news, the CDC’s report also offers insights into reversing the trend. Heroin’s strong link to prescription pain medication is a valuable clue in fighting addiction. If opiate abusers can be identified early, addicts have a much better chance of avoiding an overdose and receiving proper treatment before they move on to harder and more dangerous drugs like heroin. The CDC stresses the importance of Medically-Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs in getting addicts back on the path to sobriety. MAT programs include medication such as methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone combined with behavioral therapies and counseling.

Finding the right treatment program is a critical step in addressing heroin addiction. The Texas Substance Abuse Helpline offers addicts and their loved ones the opportunity to find proven and effective therapies designed to meet your needs. Call our addiction specialists today and take your first step toward recovery.