Heroin use and dependence have grown dramatically in the US over the last decade. Between 2002-2004 and 2011-2013, past-year use increased by 62.5% and abuse/dependence by 90%. And the demographics of heroin use have changed as well. Over a decade ago, heroin was less prevalent and more specific to marginalized individuals in low-income areas and inner cities. But today, use and dependence have increased among all demographic groups. Heroin use has also doubled among those who have historically had low rates of use – women and white individuals.
The epidemic has the potential to affect anyone. I know this firsthand, not only as a drug researcher, but also from the death of my little sister, Tara, who died five years ago this week from acute intoxication involving heroin.
As heroin use and dependence have become more prevalent, the chances that each of us knows someone dependent on heroin (or opioid pills) have climbed.… Read the rest