Heroin is an opioid drug that has been around since the end of the 1800s and was created by a pharmaceutical company in Germany. Its initial and intended use was as a medication to treat tuberculosis.
In 1924, The Heroin Act was introduced, and it made the manufacturing, distribution, and possession of heroin illegal. Since then, heroin has continued to be produced, illegally.
Heroin is made from the resin of poppy plants. Due to the fact that it is illegal to manufacture, there are no federal safety regulations in place on the drug. The potency and purity are left up to each individual producer, and vary with each individual batch. This can create huge discrepancies and provides a high possibility for overdose.
Facts and Statistics About Heroin
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that in the past five years, there has been an enormous overall rise of opioid drug use in America and emergency room visits for opioid overdoses has increased by 30 percent.
However, if broken down into respective states, some states’ percentages have risen larger than five times that number. For example, the increase of opioid use in New Hampshire in the past five years has gone up 191 percent.
Here are some alarming statistics about heroin use in America:
- The number of teenagers in America, ages twelve to seventeen, who had used heroin at some point in their lives, increased 300 percent from 1995 to 2002
- The findings from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicated that there were 153,000 current heroin users in the U.S.
- In the last ten years, the relapse rate of heroin-addicted individuals has been as high as 90 percent
- In 2012, it was reported that 3,635 deaths were were linked to the use of heroin
- In 2013, there were a reported 4,812,000 individuals who had used heroin
- In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 10,574 heroin overdoses in the U.S.
- According to the New York Daily News, in 2016, there were more than 52,000 deaths related to drug overdose in the United States
Heroin Addiction Prevention
In 1903, the rates of heroin addiction increased exponentially, and soon after the United States outlawed the importation of opium, with its first federal drug prohibition. This was done partially with the hope for a decline in the availability of heroin and a reduction of heroin addiction.
In 1914, further legislation was passed with another act, called the Harrison Narcotics Act. This set in place a requirement of registering and paying a tax for all medical professionals prescribing narcotics, attempting to dissuade the misuse of drugs.
Subsequently, many other laws were set in place to try and get a handle on illegal drug issues in America. In 1973, President Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which is still in place today.
There have been, and continue to be, many attempts to help eradicate the drug addiction epidemic in America. Most recently, the Secretary of Health and Human Services announced a new initiative, in March of 2015, named the Secretary’s Opioid Initiative.
With the intention to help fight against the opioid epidemic in the U.S., this initiative is targeted at the use of heroin, in addition to prescription opioid drugs. The top three components of this initiative are as follows:
- to provide greater access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction
- to increase the availability of Naloxone (Narcan), the overdose-reversal drug
- and to create modifications surrounding opioid prescribing practices within the medical field
Additional Notes About Heroin Use
Addiction to heroin has been noted to be one of the most severe of all drug addictions. Detoxification and rehabilitation from heroin addiction is a long and grueling process.
It has been reported that heroin addicts relapse anywhere from eight to ten times before maintaining sobriety, with heroin and cocaine being two of the most addictive drugs available.
One of the harmful effects of heroin is that it depresses one’s respiratory system. This shift in one’s body creates a much larger possibility for overdose and death.
If an individual is struggling with heroin misuse or addiction it is imperative to seek help immediately. Drug addiction is a serious, and sometimes fatal disease.