Who Abuses Heroin?
There have been big efforts on the part of local state and federal governments to make steps toward reducing the heroin and opioid epidemic impacting states around the nation, and it’s something that’s had a lot of media attention in recent years. What people often find out as they learn more about heroin and its use is that who abuses heroin isn’t necessarily who you might think.
A few decades ago, the idea of heroin abuse was one that was primarily reserved for inner cities. People had images of so-called junkies lying around the streets of the nation’s big cities with needles surrounding them, and those were by and large the communities most impacted by heroin.
Now, however, the answer to who abuses heroin has some very different answers. It’s not a drug that just impacts the inner city, nor is it reserved to just one particular demographic. It affects every demographic in a big way.
One of the theories linked to the widespread use of heroin across communities and demographics is believed to be related to the rise in abuse of prescription drugs. Prescription opioids have become so widely available, and people often start abusing them and then move to heroin because it’s cheaper and easier to get.
The following outlines some interesting facts about who abuses heroin, many of which are likely to be surprising.
- There were more than 20.5 million Americans 12 and older with a substance use disorder of some kind in 2015 and of those, nearly 600,000 had a disorder involving heroin
- Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S.
- There were nearly 13,000 deaths related to heroin in 2015 and more than 21,000 related to prescription opioids
- Among new heroin users, four out of five first abused prescription opioids
- There were around 21,000 young people aged 12 to 17 who reported using heroin in 2015 and 5,000 said they currently used heroin
- Heroin overdoses among women have tripled in recent years