The recent heroin scourge occurring across America has put many lives at risk with the sharp rise of overdoses. While overdose deaths are happening all over the country, a new report has found that heroin-related deaths are most common among young, white male adults in the Midwest, CBS reports. This is a vast contrast to fifteen years ago, when overdose deaths most commonly occurred among older black males in the West and Northeast.
The report, conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that in 2013, 8,257 people lost their lives in the United States to heroin-related causes, up from 5,925 the year before and 3,000 in 2010. Altogether, drug overdoses accounted for 43,982 deaths in 2013, being the number one cause of injury-related death in the United States, according to the article.
The rise in heroin-related overdose deaths can be directly attributed to the prescription drug abuse epidemic. Government crackdowns on prescription drug abuse have led many to shift to heroin as a cheaper and easier to acquire alternative. One in 15 people who take a prescription opioid for non-medical reasons will try heroin within the next 10 years, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
In an attempt to combat the growing overdose rates, many law enforcement agencies have begun equipping officers with overdose antidote kits containing the life saving drug naloxone. In some states, naloxone can be acquired without a prescription so that the loved ones of opioid addicts can be prepared in case of an overdose emergency.
The new CDC report showed, according to the article, that heroin overdose deaths have increased among all age groups, including both men and women, and among whites, blacks and Hispanics. In 2013, the highest heroin overdose rate was among whites ages 18 to 44.
You can view the full report, Drug-poisoning Deaths Involving Heroin: United States, 2000–2013.