18 Dec Heroin Abuse And Addiction Statistics
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If you’ve landed on this article, then chances are you know someone who suffers from addiction, specifically, a heroin addiction. In order to help someone recover from a drug addiction, it will be necessary to learn just how bad and dangerous this time can be for all involved parties—not just the one who’s using.
Below, you will see that this article offers a wealth of information on heroin addiction and abuse. For example, you will learn about the specifics of heroin: what the drug is, the effects of heroin on the brain, and the various street names of heroin as well. We’ve also provided statistics on the drug, and examples you may be able to use in order to get help for the addict in your life.
Remember, it is never too late for anyone to turn their life around. With a little bit of help and determination, anyone has the ability to stop using drugs.
What Is Heroin?
Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, which is a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Heroin can come in a variety of forms and is often either white or brown powder and sometimes, a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin.
Heroin can be injected, sniffed, snorted, or even smoked. When heroin enters the brain, it does so rapidly and binds to opioid receptors on cells located in many areas, particularly those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure and in controlling heart rate, sleeping, and breathing. As a result, it negatively affects these regions. And, in the worst case scenarios, can lead to death.
Heroin is often referred to by many different names on the street, such as Big H, Black Tar, Chiva, Hell Dust, Horse, Negra, Smack, Thunder.
As soon as heroin is administered, the user will feel a euphoric surge, also known as the rush. Some signs associated with this high includes a dry mouth, dulled emotions nodding in and out, and extremities feeling healthy. As soon as the drug as been ingested, these side effects can be present for up to 3 to 4 hours.
More so, The use of heroin can lead to a variety of short-term effects, including the following:
- Dry mouth
- Heavy feeling in the arms and legs
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe itching
- Clouded mental functioning
- A back-and-forth state of being conscious and semi-conscious
- The long-term effects of heroin generally include the following:
- Collapsed veins for people who inject the drug
- Damaged tissue inside the nose for people who sniff or snort it
- Infection of the heart lining and valves
- Constipation and stomach cramping
- Liver and kidney disease
- Lung complications, including pneumonia
- Mental disorders such as depression and antisocial personality disorder
- Sexual dysfunction for men
- Irregular menstrual cycles for women
Unfortunately, many of these conditions are life-threatening. If a person continues to use and abuse heroin, their condition will only get worse.
An Addictive Drug
Heroin is one of the most highly addictive drugs available today. People who regularly use the illegal drug generally develop a tolerance, which means that they need higher and/or more frequent doses of the drug to get high. Those who become addicted to heroin but then stop using it abruptly may then experience severe withdrawal. Heroin withdrawal symptoms often include the following:
- Severe muscle and bone pain
- Sleep problems
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Cold flashes with goose bumps
- Uncontrollable leg movements
- Severe heroin cravings
The Numbers: Facts and Statistics on Heroin Abuse
Did you know that an estimated 13.5 million people in the world take opioids, including an additional 9.2 million who use heroin? Further, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, every single day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioid painkillers.
Further, 156,000 Americans used heroin for the first time in 2012. Heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs, and the number of people who have tried it has doubled in the past decade. That same year, more than 500,000 million people received treatment for their heroin addiction. And, perhaps the most devastating statistic of all, 20 percent of youths from the ages of 12 to 17 said they saw no harm in using or trying heroin. Not only is Georgia’s youth population facing a heroin epidemic, but so is the rest of the United States as well.
A 2015 study published in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report examined data from the NSDUH and the National Vital Statistics System and reported the following trends in heroin use from 2002 to 2013:
- Between 2002 and 2013, heroin use increased by 63 percent overall, and increases were observed in both genders, most age groups, and all income levels.
- The rate of heroin use among women doubled from 0.8 percent to 1.6 percent during the decade between 2002 and 2013.
- Data from 2011 to 2013 indicated that the greatest demographic risk factors for using heroin were male gender, ages 18 to 25 years old.
Recently, as in last year, though, drug overdoses killed more than 72,000 people in the United States which is a new record according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC estimates that 72,287 people died from overdoses in 2017, which is an increase of about 10% from the year before. A majority of the deaths was caused by opioids. As you can see, the United States’s opioid problem has turned into a chilling epidemic.
Regarding location, the highest death rates came from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
Where the Trouble Began
In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies clearly conveyed to the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and then healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. Unfortunately, this subsequently led to widespread diversion and drug misuse of these medications before it became more than obvious that these medications could indeed be highly addictive. As a result, opioid overdose rates began to increase. In 2015, more than 33,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl.
Did you know that four in five heroin users began with prescription painkillers? After knowing that, it’s no surprise that in 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids. To put things in perspective, with 259 million prescriptions you could give every American adult a bottle of opioids. A 2014 survey also showed that 94% of users in treatment for their opioid addiction states that they chose heroin instead of prescription pills because they were “far more expensive and harder to obtain.”
Facts about Opioids
The following are facts about opioids originally shared by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
Almost 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.
An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.
About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.
The Midwestern region saw opioid overdoses increase 70 percent from July 2016 through September 2017.
Signs and Symptoms of Abuse
The signs and symptoms of heroin addiction will often vary among users. Yet, the most common symptoms of heroin addiction include the following:
- Mood Swings
- Avoiding Family and Friends
- Lack of Personal Hygiene
- Inability to Fulfill Responsibilities
- Increased Sleeping
- Lack of Motivation
- Slurred Speech
- Track Marks
- Running Nose
- Shortness of Breath
- Dry Mouth
- Flushed Skin
- Constricted Pupils
- Extreme Itching
- Weight Loss
- Scabs or Bruises
It’s imperative to understand that though the signs and symptoms listed above are commonly connected to heroin abuse, they do not automatically mean a problem is occurring. For example, a person could be experiencing weight loss or shortness of breath for a number of other reasons. Before you make any sort of accusation, try to get some more information regarding the situation. Specifically, have a conversation with your friend or loved one to better determine if he or she is addicted to heroin.
Then, once you have fully determined that a problem is occurring, it will be necessary to try and help the individual. Below, you will find some tips for getting your friend or loved one the help they need and deserve to make a change in their lives.
Heroin is one of the most devastating drugs that can plague an individual. These addictions breakup marriages, divide households, and ultimately makes the addict lose all sense of personal identity. The draw an addict has to heroin is so strong that they will do anything and everything they possibly can to get their next hit, even if that means they have to sacrifice relationships in the process. Although heroin causes one of the most ruthless addictions out there, that doesn’t mean a person who is suffering cannot get help and reclaim their life back.
If you have a friend or loved one who has been plagued by the disease of addiction, know that you are not alone. Further, there are ways to offer help with prevention and treatment. Yet, it is important to know that the only way an addict can successfully get help is if they want to get help. They have to be ready to make a positive change in their life.
An addict doesn’t have to face their demons alone. There is no doubt that heroin is extremely dangerous and addictive, which is why an addict will need all the help they can get if they want to fully fight their addiction. If you are the one addicted to heroin, please know it’s okay to ask for help from your family members, treatment centers, online forums, friends, or support groups. If you are the one trying to get help from a loved one, you may need the guidance of a professional intervention counselor to form a safe and effective strategy.
It’s obvious that there is a strong stigma on heroin addiction, but that shouldn’t deter you away from getting the help you need. Just remember it’s okay if you have an addiction, the important thing is that you’re trying to get help. Heroin doesn’t discriminate. It targets all social groups, all classes, and all walks of life. As long as you realize this and are ready to become clean, you will be able to fight your addiction and reclaim your life once again.
When it comes to the spouse or parents of the addict, do whatever you can not to enable their addiction. That means no loaning them money, no calling their employer to explain why the addict didn’t show up, and no bailing them out every time they go to jail. You must to have a serious talk with the addict and let them know that you don’t support their addiction and you will not tolerate it any longer.
The statistics don’t lie. Unfortunately, heroin is a very dangerous and addictive drug that ruins people’s lives. However, now that you are more familiar with the numbers, as well as the specific harms it can cause and how to get assistance, you will be more likely to help those family and friends who are in need.
Though it may seem cliché, remember that you never have to do it alone. Further, take one day at a time. Don’t give up on your loved one, either. Keep fighting and show them that they can better themselves and their lives. People have and can kick this horrible addiction. Granted, the road to recovery is not easy, but it will definitely be worth it.