The Current State of Heroin Use in the U.S.

Heroin is one of the most abused drugs in the world. In the United States, many research studies have been conducted over the years to determine the prevalence of heroin use. Has the rate of heroin use finally begun to decline, or is it still growing? Why is heroin the drug of choice for so many Americans?

In regards to the first question, studies have found that heroin use has in fact stabilized within the U.S., but its use still remains rather high. The number of Americans who use heroin has remained somewhat steady since 2009 – there were much higher levels of heroin use among Americans between the years 2002 and 2008 compared to now.

Another separate research study examined the types of people who use heroin the most. The drug seems to be especially popular among those who also abuse prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Oxycontin. Specifically, the study saw a 75 percent increase in the amount of white Americans using heroin between the years 2008 to 2011. That’s a huge spike.

The study also found that white Americans weren’t the only group to start using heroin more. Hispanics who abused prescription drugs also increased their heroin use.

The connection between prescription drug abuse and heroin use may seem arbitrary at first glance, but the reason actually makes sense: when a person can’t get ahold of heroin, they are more likely to turn to a “replacement” drug – often in the form of prescription drugs. This allows them to still experience the “high” feeling often felt from heroin, but without the heroin.

The Bright Side

There is good news regarding the current state of heroin use in the U.S. The first study mentioned above found that more American heroin users are seeking treatment than previous years. Treatment admissions went from 277,000 in 2002 to 526,000 by 2013. This is great news – it shows that more people are accepting their own heroin abuse problem and are taking the right steps to fix it.

Talbott Recovery offers heroin treatment and programs for other drug addiction. You or your loved one may not be aware you are suffering from a serious drug problem, but we are here to help. It is not a hopeless situation. As noted above, half a million Americans are seeking help for this same problem.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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