Heroin Addiction Statistics
One of the most prevalent drugs in the United States today is heroin. Heroin is an opiate derived from morphine. Generally, it is sold as white or brownish powder, or as a sticky, black substance known as “tar” heroin. Heroin can be injected, smoked or snorted. Known as “smack,” “H,” “ska” or “junk” on the streets, it is a highly addictive opiate that has a far reach across the nation with no socioeconomic borders to speak of.
The effects of heroin include a short-term euphoria followed by a “crash” that includes intermittent bouts of insomnia or drowsiness.
The statistics surrounding heroin use can be shocking. In a 2010 study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the following discoveries concerned school-aged children in the US:
- Of eighth graders in the United States, 0.8 percent had abused heroin at least once in the year preceding the survey.
- Of 10th graders in the US, 0.8 percent had abused heroin at least once in the year preceding the survey.
- Of high school seniors in the United States, 0.9 percent had abused heroin at least once in the year preceding the survey.
- Of eighth graders in the US, 1.3 percent had abused heroin at least once in their lifetime.
- Of 10th graders in the United States, 1.5 percent had abused heroin at least once in their lifetime.
- Of high school seniors in the US, 1.2 percent had abused heroin at least once in their lifetime.
Average Age for First-Time Use of Heroin
According to the same 2010 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there were 140,000 individuals in the United States aged 12 year or older who had begun using heroin or used heroin for the first time that year. The average age of individuals between the ages of 12 and 49 years to use this powerful opiate for the first time was a mere 21 years of age. This is younger than the previous study funded in 2009. At that time, the average age was 25 years old.
Total Number of Heroin Users
The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 605,000 Americans aged 12 and older had used heroin at least once in the previous year.
Heroin-Involved Emergency Department Visits
In the National Institute on Drug Abuse publication “Research Report Series – Heroin Abuse and Addiction,” the institute states that more than 93,000 individuals in 21 metropolitan areas sought medical treatment for heroin-related conditions in the year 2002.
In 2009, the number of heroin-related emergency department visits increased to 213,000 visits, although it should be noted that the statistics came from separate organizations. Forty-three thousand of these visits combined alcohol and heroin use.
Drug Deaths in the United States
While numbers for heroin-specific deaths are scarce, the number of “unintentional poisonings” in the United States in 2007 was second only to automobile accidents. Of these poisonings, 93 percent were drug-related poisonings, also known as overdoses.
Heroine use is more common in more sectors of the population than the average citizen might think; however, treatment is available for those who have fallen into the illness of addiction.