Officers with the Huntsville Police Department say they are seeing a major increase this year.
Deaths caused by heroin overdoses almost quadrupled between 2002 and 2013, claiming 8,257 lives in 2013.
Growing heroin use is also leading to an increase in the number of babies born addicted to the drug and an increase in overdoses.
“It’s about community involvement, and getting the word out to everyone about the problem that we are having”, Sgt.
Experts say a lot of people have turned to heroin because prescription opiod painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin are becoming more expensive and tougher to get. Many people switch to heroin because it’s cheaper, Frieden said.
Increasing heroin dependence is closely tied to prescription pain reliever abuse, said Dr Jay Unick, associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and author of a 2013 study on trends in heroin- and opioid-related overdoses. “More people are primed for heroin addiction because they are addicted to prescription opiates, which are, after all, essentially the same chemical with the same impact on the brain”. Heroin use grew by 62.5% among those with private insurance, an indication that the users are employed and more financially secure. That rise in injection drug use has fueled a new set of public health problems, including an HIV outbreak in rural Indiana and a resurgence of hepatitis C nationwide, Frieden said.
Lander, who has been treating addiction for three decades, sees the heroin boom as the latest in a series of waves of drug abuse that regularly sweep across the United States. “These things are feeding on each other”, Unick said.
A January 2015 analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that deaths from opioid addiction leveled off from 2006 to 2008 and then decreased slightly from 2009 thru 2013.
Wen also recommends that more communities should educate people on naloxone. “We have the medications and we have the know-how. But I think we could deal with this pretty effectively”. The increase of supply also led to a decline in price and an increase in purity. The CDC urged states to make prescription-monitoring programs easier for doctors and pharmacists to use.
The DEA’s acting administrator, Chuck Rosenberg, said in a statement that the agency will continue to work with the CDC. About 12 million have used prescription opioids. “Our best information suggests two main reasons”, CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden told CNN.
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