Heroin Addiction

An Urgent Public Health Crisis

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 

In recent years, heroin has resurfaced as the most dangerous addiction threat facing the United States. In early 2014, the United States Attorney General declared heroin to be an “urgent public health crisis” affecting multiple communities. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), there were 3,038 heroin-related deaths in 2010, representing a 45% increase since 2006. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports a 53% increase in heroin abuse from 2002-2011.

According to the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, the greatest increase in heroin abuse has occurred among young adults, ages 18-25. 156,000 people began using heroin in 2012, bringing the total to approximately 669,000. Their average age is 23 years old. The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) reports that heroin abuse more than doubled from 2002 (214,000) to 2012 (467,000).

A drug once largely confined to urban populations, heroin has now managed to infiltrate communities all over the country. Its resurgence has had a particularly devastating impact on upper-middle class suburban communities, where teenagers and young adults are graduating to the drug after abusing prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone. It is estimated that 75% of heroin treatment patients report abusing prescription painkillers before switching over to heroin.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with heroin abuse, contact the National Referral Center for Heroin Addiction today. We’re ready to connect you with the best possible treatment resources to help you overcome addiction and rebuild your life.

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is a semi-synthetic opiate made from morphine, which is extracted from the poppy plant. The three major types of heroin include: black tar, white and brown. Heroin is typically snorted, smoked or injected and comes in various levels or purity. One of the more dangerous aspects of heroin is that its content usually varies according to the distributor.

White heroin is often sold as a water-soluble salt and is considerably purer than brown, which is a base and  requires an acid to activate. Although historically available in a powder form, heroin can easily be obtained as a pill these days. Powder heroin is usually cut with sugar or some other additive agent. Purity levels can reach as high as 90%. 

Where Does Heroin Come From?

Heroin comes into the United States mainly from South America and Southeast Asia. During recent years, the DEA has noticed a significant increase in importation from Latin America and has reported a 320% increase in seizures from 2008-2013. They have also said that it is not uncommon to find as many as 10,000 bags during a single seizure. Heroin has become the drug of choice for both rural and urban criminal organizations. Officials at the DEA field office in New York City, where there has been an 84% increase in heroin-related deaths from 2010-2012, say that it is the number-one drug threat in the region.

The New Face of Heroin Addiction

During heroin’s first popularity explosion in the 1950s and 60s, the drug was commonly abused by minority men. In the present day, the drug’s affordability, accessibility and similar effects to prescription painkillers have made it the preferred drug of a whole new population of abusers. A recent survey of 9,000 heroin abusers revealed that 90% of them were white men and women.

In 2012 an estimated 6.8 million people were abusing prescription painkillers; however advanced monitoring measures and recent institutional crackdowns on prescription opioid abuse have made it more difficult for addicts to access pills. Heroin has been filling this void in various communities, going for as little as $4 per bag compared to $20 for a single oxycodone tablet. In areas like Chicago, the going rate is now $10 for a dose of 7%-10% pure heroin, compared to just ten years ago when 2%-3% pure doses were going for between $40 and $50.

The Rising Heroin Fatality Rate in the US


Source: Department of Health and Human Services 

A large majority of American states have experienced a significant increase in heroin fatalities over the past few years. Top law enforcement officials report that in many communities, heroin-related deaths now rival fatal car accidents. The problem has spread throughout the country, from New Jersey, where there have been over 800 deaths this year alone to Wisconsin, which saw 227 deaths in 2013 to Kentucky, where overdose deaths increased 650% from 2011-2012. Pennsylvania saw 124 heroin deaths in 2013, while Connecticut saw 257 that same year. In Massachusetts 185 people have died from heroin since November 1. 

Begin the Healing Process Today

Heroin’s potency and intense withdrawal process very quickly turn abusers into addicts. The longer you or your loved one wait to get help, the harder it will be to stop. The National Referral Center for Heroin Addiction is committed to helping you find quality treatment options and restore your peace-of-mind. Call us now to get the help you or your loved one need. 

Let Us Help You Find the Right Heroin Treatment

Selecting a heroin treatment facility for you or your loved one can be overwhelming. The National Referral Center for Heroin Addiction is ready to help you find the best possible treatment options. After a consultation with one of our compassionate and knowledgeable representatives, we will find the facility that works best for you.

We recognize the time-sensitive nature of heroin addiction and are committed to helping you start the recovery process. Contact the National Referral Center for Heroin Addiction anytime toll-free at 855-374-3170 or through our online form, for our recommendations of the best medically licensed treatment facility for you or your loved one!

For you or your loved one's safety, we only recommend undergoing detoxification at a licensed detox facility that provides 24-hour medical supervision.