A recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows new demographics of individuals abusing and becoming addicted to heroin in the United States: middle class females.
The CDC study shows that more women who identified as “middle class” are turning to heroin now that prescription pain medications are more difficult to acquire. The study, which examined data collected between 2011 and 2014, shows that heroin use is up 60% among women and nearly 63% among middle-class people.
Opioid addiction does not discriminate. What’s more, results from the CDC’s research show that more individuals are turning to heroin by way of the diminished availability of painkillers. According to the CDC, the number of heroin users increased by 150% since 2007, and 75% of new heroin users abused prescription pain medications before switching to heroin. In lieu of recent legislation limiting the prescribing of pain medications such as OxyContin, Opana, or Vicodin, many substance use disorder treatment professionals believe that the rise in heroin-related overdoses and admissions to treatment is due to the relatively easy accessibility of heroin coupled with the fact that it is significantly less expensive than opioid-based painkillers.
As part of the domino effect that comes with an increase in heroin abuse is the unfortunate rise in the number of heroin-related deaths. In some parts of the United States, heroin overdoses now outnumber traffic accidents and homicides, with such fatalities quadrupling since the year 2000. Part of what is contributing to this statistic is the demand for more heroin, of which is now being produced with extremely dangerous and potent substances, such as fentanyl, that can cause users to experience an overdose after just one use.
- Opioids are any of various compounds that bind to specific receptors in the central nervous system and have analgesic (pain relieving) effects including prescription medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone and illicit substances such as heroin
- Opioid addiction is federally described as a progressive, treatable brain disease
- 24.6 million people 12 or older (9.4% of the population) live with substance dependence or abuse
- 1.9 million Americans live with prescription opioid abuse or dependence, while 517,000 Americans live with heroin addiction
- Opioid addiction disease occurs in every American State, County, socio-economic and ethnic group
The Union Members’ Assistance Coordinators program is a program where your fellow members receive training and provide counseling to support fellow members in need of assistance.
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