DEA Finally Acknowledges the Heroin Epidemic

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According to recent statistics gathered during a detailed research investigation – a project aptly dubbed The National Heroin Threat Assessment – the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administrations (DEA) reports that the availability and abuse of heroin is steadily on the rise in America.

Tragically, this trend means that heroin-related deaths are also climbing in staggering numbers.

The Heroin Surge

Nationally, the number of deaths related to heroin use has more than tripled from 2,402 in 2007 to 8,260 overdose deaths in 2013.

During this same time, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports the amount of heroin users has also nearly doubled among the U.S. population.

According to the DEA report, 38 percent of law enforcement agencies now consider heroin their greatest concern to public safety. If that’s not frightening enough, according to the National Seizure System, heroin seizures across the U.S. increased 81 percent from 2010 to 2014.

In simple terms; heroin’s availability, use and consequences are all dramatically increasing.

Chuck Rosenberg, who is the DEA Administrator, said, “DEA is targeting the cartels that produce and smuggle heroin into the U.S. and organized criminals that distribute this poison. We will continue to combat heroin trafficking to protect Americans from this severe and growing threat.”

The Official Word

In a sad twist, this growing heroin epidemic is linked to policy changes that were initially formed to lower prescription drug abuse.

In recent efforts, drug manufacturers and public policymakers tried to make opiate painkillers harder to abuse. Drugs such as OxyContin have been reformulated, making them almost impossible to crush and administer via injection or snorting.

The Unintended Fallout

With all the opiate pill reformulations and stricter prescription drug policies, heroin, in many cases, is now cheaper and easier to obtain than opiate pain pills ever were.

In 2013, a report by SAMHSA showed that roughly four out of five new heroin users are former abusers of prescription painkillers.

Unfortunately, the fastest growing demographic of new heroin users is among individuals aged 18 to 25, showing that policies aimed to combat prescription drug abuse are now leading a younger generation in a new, life-threatening direction.

Heroin’s purity, or strength, is also increasing while the drug’s price continues to drop. This deadly combination is fueling heroin’s growing appeal while increasing the risk of accidental overdose.

If you or someone you love is abusing heroin, it’s crucial to seek professional treatment immediately, before becoming a statistic of these reports.


Additional Reading5 Telltale Signs of a High-Functioning Addict

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