From the inner cities to suburbia, it is estimated that half a million Americans are addicted to heroin. With a steady supply from Mexico, the DEA estimates that the production in Mexico has risen over 600% over the last ten years, and Mexican drug cartels supply over 70% of the illegal drugs sold on our local streets. As the drug becomes easily available and cheaper to buy, gangs and cartels are making billions of dollars from diverse demographics.
To demonstrate the seriousness of the problem, from 2000 to 2013:
- The rate of deaths involving heroin has almost tripled since 2010;
- In 2013, the rate of heroin-related deaths in men versus women were four times higher in men;
- From 2000 to 2013, the rate of heroin-related deaths was highest among individuals between the ages of 25 and 44;
- In 2000,non-Hispanic black individuals between the ages of 45 and 64 represented the highest rate of heroin-related deaths; and,
- In 2013, non-Hispanic white individuals between the ages of 18 and 44 represented the highest rate of deaths.
Who Is Today’s User?
According to the CDC, there has been a steady increase in heroin use, addiction, and related deaths, with the biggest increase of users being found in young individuals between the ages of 12 and 17 years old. The heroin epidemic now encompasses new users in the form of women and individuals with private insurance and higher incomes. With no boundaries, this epidemic claims inner-city junkies, award winning actors, musicians, artists, and public figures. It can affect any person, at any time, in any location.
Will The Epidemic Go Away?
As other drugs had their popularity fade, it is suggested the heroin epidemic will eventually follow this pattern and also fade over time. Similar to the waning popularity of cocaine over decades, it is speculated that the use of heroin will decline as society overtly recognizes the overdoses and extremely negative consequences of using the drug, thereby making it socially unacceptable and reducing usage. Other methods of lessening the drug’s appeal involve treatment of current users and the prevention of new users through policies addressing the needs and unique circumstances of these groups.
There is Help
When it comes to recovery, seeking help for the addiction is a huge step on an addict’s road to recovery. It is important to choose a treatment that is designed to treat both the symptoms and the underlying reasons for the addiction. Understanding that finding quality treatment can be a bit overwhelming, there can never be too many options under these circumstances. As there is an abundance of qualified people ready, willing, and able to help someone in need, there is no need for anyone to suffer through this addiction alone.
Heroin will remain its own brand of mass destruction weapon. It will continue to kill a large part of society as a whole, one person at a time, until it is completely eradicated, one person at a time.