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Heroin Use in the United States Experiences Significant Demographic Increases

In a new study published by JAMA Psychiatry, researchers discovered that particular demographic groups have experienced a significant increase in heroin use over the past decade.

The two-part study examined results from separate surveys conducted from both 2001-2002 and 2012-2013. Together, the studies concluded that white males’ heroin use had increased exponentially—nearly 6 times over in the span of 10 years. The rate increased from 0.34% to 1.9%.

In total, 1.6% of all Americans surveyed in the later study admitted to using heroin at some point in their lives. This statistic speaks volumes toward the growing opioid crisis that continues to plague the United States—an epidemic that has resulted in 91 opioid-related deaths per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A large proportion of Americans who reported heroin use also admitted that they had abused prescription opioids prior to using heroin, further illuminating the need for opioid-addiction education.

Although the white male demographic experienced the largest increases in heroin use, each demographic analyzed experienced increases across the board.

What are these numbers telling us?

An Increased Need for Education and Treatment

As the nation continues to be devastatingly affected by the widespread abuse of opioids and heroin, the need for education and treatment is also on the rise.

The epidemic calls for compassion, as those who are struggling across the country are those who could easily be a family member or loved one of our own. Addiction does not discriminate—it is a disease that has touched the lives of millions, and one that leaves ghostly reminders of its power, even as individuals enter long-term recovery.

Over 23 million Americans suffer from addiction. According to experts, though, only 11 percent of those individuals will seek or receive the necessary addiction treatment.

Whether the individual is not ready for treatment, the associated costs are too high, or the individual is concerned with the possible ramifications (professionally or personally) that would result from attending treatment—one fact remains true: there are millions who are not receiving the treatment they so desperately need.

At this critical time within the addiction crisis, it is important to note that help is available. With such a large percentage of Americans struggling to cope, there is an urgent need for the appropriate services and therapies associated with addiction treatment.



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