Tags: cdc | heroin | use | epidemic

CDC: Heroin Use an 'Epidemic,' Related Deaths Up 286 Percent

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Jul 2015 10:36 AM

Saying the U.S. has a "heroin epidemic," the CDC reported the drug's rapidly increasing use across all demographics has caused the number of heroin-related deaths to jump 286 percent from 2002 to 2013.

The CDC acknowledged in a report on Tuesday that non-Hispanic white women and young adults between the ages of 18 to 25 are now twice as likely to develop a heroin addiction.

 


The report noted that heroin use more than doubled that age group in the past decade, that more than 9 in 10 people who used heroin also used at least one other drug, and that 45 percent of people who used heroin were also addicted to prescription opioid painkillers.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC's director, told CNN the increase in heroin use can be attributed to gateway drugs and availability.

"First, more and more people are susceptible to heroin because they have been prescribed prescription opiates, like OxyContin. And the second reason is that heroin itself seems to be cheaper and more widely available,” said Frieden.

According to the FDA, most heroin addicts initially get a prescription for pain killers from their doctors.

Frieden said doctors need to learn more about the long-term effects of pain killers and stop taking “the path of least resistance,” which is “to write a prescription rather than address some of the root causes of the patient's pain," according to U.S. News and World Report.

"It may be that an individual doctor does not see the long-term consequences for that individual of addiction, overdose, death, and the social and medical costs it could have."

The Drug Enforcement Administration said the amount of heroin crossing the U.S. border with Mexico increased from 500 kilograms to 2,000 kilograms in 2013, making heroin easier to find and cheaper to buy.

“When heroin becomes more accessible and less expensive, more people will use it, especially people who are primed for addiction because of prescription opiate,” said Frieden.

Chuck Rosenberg, the DEA's acting administrator, told CNN the agency is working stop the increase in heroin use.

"Approximately 120 people die each day in the United States of a drug overdose," he said. "We will continue to target the criminal gangs that supply heroin, and we will work to educate folks about the dangers and to reduce demand. In this way, we hope to complement the crucial efforts of the CDC and our nation's public health agencies."

 



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Saying the U.S. has a "heroin epidemic," the CDC reported the drug's rapidly increasing use across all demographics has caused the number of heroin-related deaths to jump 286 percent from 2002 to 2013.
cdc, heroin, use, epidemic
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2015-36-08
Wednesday, 08 Jul 2015 10:36 AM
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