Heroin-related deaths nearly tripled between 2010 and 2013 and quadrupled between 2000 and 2013, reveals a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
Death rates from heroin increased across all age groups, races, ethnic groups, and every region in the United States. The overdose death rate was about four times higher among men than women in 2013.
“We are seeing heroin deaths skyrocketing because we have an epidemic of people addicted to opioids,” Phoenix House Chief Medical Officer Andrew Kolodny, M.D. told TIME. Dr. Kolodny added that heroin and prescription painkillers are in the same opioid drug class and offer a similar high, so people who are hooked on painkillers may switch to heroin because it’s cheaper and doesn’t require a prescription.
Experts and advocates have called attention to an alarming rise in opioid addiction and overdose deaths over the past 15 years, which parallels an increase in the number of painkillers prescribed to Americans during that period. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012, enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.
Source: Time Magazine –