The Heroin Epidemic (not just in Minnesota but in your state too)

Heroin is easy to get, cheaper than prescription painkillers, and has moved into middle- and upper-middle class neighborhoods. Today’s heroin addict is a white, middle-class. 18-25 year-old. This is the heroin epidemic.

This half-hour documentary, Heroin at Home: Rise of Opiate Use, explores some of the history, science, and social factors of opiate addiction. The voices of those in treatment and recovery are woven into analysis from some of Minnesota’s leading thinkers on the deadly rise of heroin and opiate use among young people in Minnesota. The story is the same for other states in America.

Nationwide, heroin use among persons age 12 and older nearly doubled between 2007 and 2012. National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2012, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2012 about 669,000 Americans reported using heroin in the past year, a number that has been on the rise since 2007. This trend appears to be driven largely by young adults aged 18–25 among whom there have been the greatest increases. The number of people using heroin for the first time is unacceptably high, with 156,000 people starting heroin use in 2012, nearly double the number of people in 2006 (90,000). In contrast, heroin use has been declining among teens aged 12–17.  Heroin Research Report, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2014

Although heroin use has been declining among teens ages 12-17, nearly 34,000 are trying heroin for the first time each year, as the drug becomes cheaper and more readily available than ever. National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2012, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed in three recent studies reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin. Some reported switching to heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opiods. Epidemiologic Trends in Drug Abuse, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2011

Losing JonathanLosing Jonathan by Robert and Linda Waxler  Jonathan Waxler died at the age of 26 of a heroin overdose following a long struggle with heroin addiction. The Waxlers have chronicled the tragically short life of their son, as well as the long grieving process they endured in this powerful and beautifully written memoir. Losing Jonathan is both a comfort and a wake-up call to parents everywhere about the overwhelming dangers of any addiction.

A suburban heroin addict describes his brush with death and his hopes for a better life  You don’t have to be wealthy or famous or a criminal to become addicted.

Study: Whites More Likely to Abuse Drugs Than Blacks  Research shows that young African Americans are less likely to use drugs and less likely to develop substance use disorders, compared to whites, Native Americans, Hispanics and people of mixed race.

The horrific toll of America’s heroin ‘epidemic’  Heroin abuse in the US has been spreading beyond inner cities, resulting in a sharp rise in addiction and death. This BBC report looks at the heroin crisis in Chicago and the surrounding suburban areas.

With Rise of Painkiller Abuse, A Closer Look at Heroin  NPR reports on the connection between painkillers and heroin.

Why heroin is spreading in America’s suburbs  Much of the increase among suburban teens, as well as a growing number of adults, has also coincided with a sharp rise in the use of prescription painkiller pills, which are essentially identical to heroin.

Why more Americans are getting high ― and overdosing ― on heroin  PBS looks at the changing faces and places of addiction, as well as the reasons for it.

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