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Special Report: The Rise of Heroin

Between 2002 and 2013, heroin abuse has skyrocketed and overdose deaths have increased by 286 percent.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned about the surge in heroin use in the United States. It is now being considered an ‘urgent public health crisis.’ People are being found dead in hotel rooms, cars, and public restrooms.


It’s a drug addiction that can happen to any age, race, income level, insurance status, location, or gender. But white males, 18 to 25 years old living in large metropolitan areas, have the highest risk for becoming heroin addicts.


The demographics of heroin users have changed in the last ten years. Black Americans between the ages of 45-64 had the highest death toll related to heroin in 2000. But, that has changed as of recently with white people aged 18-44 having the highest instances of heroin-related deaths. The number of deaths among people of color is actually decreasing.


Location wise, addiction has increased most drastically in the Midwest followed by the Northeast, with the West and the South coming in last, especially in white suburbs. Emergency rooms have seen an upsurge of overdose cases.

People who are addicted to painkillers are more likely to become addicted to heroin. There is a link between both kinds of drug abuses. Painkiller prescriptions are harder to access, more costly to purchase, so users will turn to heroin since it’s cheaper and easier to find, which has contributed significantly to the growing heroin epidemic.


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