Heroin Overdose Deaths Triple in Last 4 Years

The number of deaths resulting from heroin overdoses has increased for the fourth year in a row, according to the CDC.

Salem, Virginia: The number of people who are dying from the use of heroin is on a consistent upward trajectory, with the latest statistics offering evidence that this tragic epidemic is on the rise for the fourth year in a row. In 2010, 2,789 people lost their lives due to overdosing on heroin. In 2011, that number jumped to 4,102 and then rose again in 2012, with 5,927 people dying from the overuse of heroin. Devastatingly, this number skyrocketed in 2013 with a total of 8,260 people reportedly dying from a heroin overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While the statistics for 2014 have yet to be provided, the steady increase in heroin-related deaths that occurred between 2010 and 2013 leaves many researchers anticipating that this tragic pattern will continue.

The stereotype that tends to surround people who are addicted to heroin is that they are from low-income neighborhoods, from minority families who are of low socioeconomic status, encircled by crime and violence, and who do not have bright futures ahead of them. Today, however, this stereotype is proving to be the farthest thing from the truth.

A study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA Psychiatry, in 2014 states that the face of heroin use throughout the United States has metamorphosed dramatically over recent years. In comparison to heroin users of previous generations, those who abuse this substance today are more likely to be white, older in age, of middle-class, and reside is nonurban neighborhoods. Furthermore, a significantly large number of these individuals turned to heroin after first developing an addiction to prescription painkillers.

Both heroin and prescription painkillers are part of the same classification of drugs, known as opioids. Because of the opiate narcotic nature of these substances, the high that they each provide tends to be quite similar. Heroin, however, is not only easier to obtain, but it is also much cheaper. Estimates have shown that individuals can obtain an equal dose of heroin for one-tenth of the price that it would cost them to obtain a single pill of a prescription opiate.

Due to the link between these two substances, it is important that individuals understand the dire importance of receiving treatment for an opiate addiction, regardless of whether it be an addiction to heroin or prescription painkillers, like Vicodin or OxyContin.

“The consistent increase in the number of heroin-related deaths brings into glaring view the devastation that heroin can cause in the lives of those who abuse it. This is why it is imperative that treatment is received as early as possible in order to prevent such a grave outcome. At Abilene Behavioral Health, we offer specialized programming that is designed to not only address an addiction to heroin, but to offer positive, life-changing solutions that can help people successfully achieve and maintain life-long sobriety.”- Bonnie Stewart, LPC, Clinical Director, Mount Regis Center