A recent study from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health reveals that heroin use has increased almost fivefold since 2007.

Another study, published in the journal, JAMA Psychiatry, looks beyond figures related to overdoses and overdose deaths to see how heroin used has changed since 2001.

According to the data, the rise in use is particularly prevalent in white individuals, with the group’s usage rising from 0.34% to 1.9% over the decade. In 2010, 1.6% of the American adult population claimed to have used heroin at some point in their life, an increase from just 0.33% in 2000. This most recent figure equates to around 3.8 million American people having used heroin.

The steepest rise in both heroin use and abuse was seen in unmarried, white males. In this particular group, the nationwide survey found that the number of white people who have used opioid prescription drugs before using heroin has risen staggeringly from 35.8% to 52.8%. Those under 45 years of age showed a particularly large increase in figures.

The issue is thought to have spanned from the over-prescription of opioids which can lead to misuse, overuse and, later, abuse of opioid-based drugs, most likely to be heroin.

Opioid based drugs became widely used as prescription drugs in America in the 1990s with prescription painkillers such as morphine and codeine containing opioids. This was not without controversy as patients using opioid drugs are at a higher risk of misusing them and later suffering from heroin usage or addiction than those who have never taken legal opioids.

It’s thought that those who have been legally given prescription medications transition to finding the easiest and cheapest opioid they can get their hands on once their medication is no longer required; heroin.

A growing issue, it’s starting to worry healthcare providers as an average of 91 Americans are dying each day due to opioid-related overdose. To combat the issues, better medical training is thought to be needed along with prescription drug monitoring programmes and better education on addiction and drug abuse.

Since 1999, the number of overdoses from prescription opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as illegal drugs like heroin, have quadrupled. As an illegal drug, heroin is now responsible for a quarter of all overdose deaths in the United States.

Although heroin usage is worryingly on the rise, there could be a benefit to the change in figures. The rise is likely to prompt an improvement to treatment for drug abuse. Opioid abuse already has some of the best treatment available as it can be such a severe addiction. Drugs like methadone and buprenorphine can support addicts to recover from their addiction which, in turn, helps reduce later care costs as users could expect better recovery treatment and, therefore, a faster recovery time. On that topic, you can find a good heroin addiction withdrawal timeline from wings of encouragement.

Author's Bio: 

I'm just your average hygienist with a passion for excellence. I do what I do best, which is to help my patients achieve healthy smiles and provide & educate them with oral health care solutions and lifelong cosmetic procedures. This article written with the help of dedicated server company.