Written By: Fiona Stockard
Heroin Addiction Facts and Statistics
Heroin is arguably the most addictive drug on earth. It produces an immediate warm, comfortable feeling, which shuts out the rest of the world. Users often describe it as “being in a bubble,” or “wrapped in a blanket.” But what are the facts about heroin addiction? Which heroin addiction facts even matter? Are these facts reflected in heroin addiction statistics? Let’s find out.
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Heroin Addiction Facts
There’s a wealth of information available regarding heroin use. Which heroin addiction facts matter? Find seven important heroin addiction facts below.
• As of 2007, there were 153,000 heroin addicts in the United States, though some studies list that number as high as 900,000.
• Although the perception of a heroin addict is that of a homeless individual, studies show that more and more middle and upper class people are becoming addicted.
• The average age of heroin addicts is also decreasing. Treatment centers list the average age of a heroin addict as twenty-two.
• Heroin addiction is linked to prescription drug abuse. In fact, the largest indicator that someone will use heroin is if they first abuse prescription painkillers like OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin.
• Heroin addiction is physical as well as mental. The physical withdrawal includes sweating, shaking, vomiting, and muscle pain. The mental withdrawal includes anger, agitation, an overwhelming craving for the drug, and foggy thinking.
• Heroin is often mixed with other opiates, including Fentanyl, to increase the high. This can lead fatal overdoses, especially as heroin is thought to now be upwards of fifty percent pure.
• Health concerns associated with heroin use include: overdose, Hepatitis C, HIV, other blood borne illnesses (including Hepatitis B), impure batches, lifestyle factors (unsafe injection practices, committing crimes, etc.), and withdrawal.
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Heroin Addiction Statistics
It’s easy to blow things out of proportion with skewed statistics. Find eight accurate heroin addiction statistics below.
• Heroin addiction accounts for 18% of all treatment center admissions.
• There were 16,651 deaths due to heroin in 2010, which translates to roughly forty-five deaths per day.
• Heroin abuse has increased by 60% in the last decade, from 90,000 reported addicts to 153,000.
• In 2011, there were approximately 281,000 heroin users in the U.S.
• By 2012, this number had jumped to approximately 335,000 heroin users or .1% of the total population.
• In 2009, 605,000 adolescents reported having abused heroin in the last year.
• Heroin addicts, using a combination of inpatient treatment and medication assisted therapies (methadone maintenance), reported a 90% decrease in their heroin use.
• 93% of the world’s heroin is produced in Afghanistan.
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A History of Heroin Addiction
Opiates have been cultivated and abused for thousands of years. Ancient Middle Eastern cultures grew poppy plants and made teas from their sap. This sap was raw opium and, in fact, sparked several early wars.
Fast forward to the Civil War. Morphine addiction became know as “the soldier’s disease” because of the huge amount of soldiers returning home addicted to it. Bayer Pharmaceuticals soon took advantage of this and marketed heroin as a non-addictive cure for morphine addiction. That didn’t work out so well for them.
Heroin use soon became so prevalent that you could order several grams of it, along with a syringe and spoon, from Sears. This continued until 1924 when the government banned the sale, importation, and manufacture of heroin, except for medical purposes.
At this point, heroin became an underground drug. The idea of the heroin addict was also born. Public opinion maintained this idea of the heroin addict as a deranged, drug hungry individual for the next seventy-five years.
Luckily, as the treatment industry changed in the 2000’s, the perception of heroin addicts did as well. Today, heroin addiction is recognized as a disease, rather than a moral shortcoming.
What Do These Heroin Addiction Facts and Statistics Really Mean?
These heroin addiction facts and statistics give us both good and bad news.
The bad news is simple, heroin and heroin addiction are becoming a nationwide health epidemic.
The good news from these heroin addiction facts is a bit more varied. First, there’s a higher public awareness of the problems caused by heroin. This translates into more options available for treatment. In fact, there are more opportunities to fight heroin addiction today, than at any other time in history. There are inpatient treatment centers, outpatient treatment centers, drug specific counseling, twelve-step fellowships, and medication assisted therapies. Also, many state paramedics and police officers now carry anti-overdose drugs.
Are you or a loved one suffering from heroin addiction? At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we’ve been there.
In fact, many of our staff are in long-term recovery. We know what it’s like to be unable to stop binge drinking or compulsively using drugs. Let us show you another way, a sober way.
Call Lighthouse today at 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE or 1-(561)-381-0015. You’ll be connected to a caring and expert outreach and admission coordinator who can help start the process of recovery.
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