The Growing Popularity Of Heroin

The Growing Popularity Of Heroin

Heroin usage is steadily increasing and is, unfortunately, affecting a large number of teens. The potency combined with inexperience on the user’s part along with heroin’s inconsistent formula is leading to an increase in the number of deaths attributed to by this drug.

The Growing Popularity Of Heroin


Heroin belongs to the classification of drugs known as opiates. It’s derived from morphine that occurs naturally inside the seed of poppy plants. It’s then synthesized using the 3,6-diacetyl ester from the plant. Usually, a person will purchase it in a powder or tar form. Most of the time, it’s insufflated, injected or smoked. In some countries, it’s used as a medication to relieve pain since ingesting heroin orally doesn’t have the same euphoric effect.

Abuse Rates

A study conducted in 2011 identified that 4.2 million Americans aged 12 or older used heroin at least once in their lives. Worldwide, 9.2 million individuals use it. A study in 2007 revealed that 153,000 individuals in the U.S. partook in heroin usage; however, experts estimate that this figure is closer to 900,000, as noted by A Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Approximately 23 percent of people who use the substance become addicted to it. A majority of drug-related deaths are from heroin usage. In 2008, the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction indicated that four out of five drug-related deaths were because of heroin.

Dangers of It

It’s a highly addictive substance. It’s one of the easiest drugs to become addicted to, even after taking it only one time. It causes a physical dependency that leads to malaise, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, muscle pains, abdominal cramps, insomnia, bone pain and numerous other unpleasant symptoms when the person doesn’t take the drug. This can start in as little as six hours after the last dose. Few people recover on their own. A majority of people require a 12-step or non 12 step addiction treatment to combat the withdrawal and be able to live a lifetime without the substance.

Death from it is common, whether from an overdose or the substance being laced with an even more harmful substance. In some cases, it causes health problems that can lead to dead such as a blood clot, HIV from sharing a needle or liver failure. When a person takes too much, he or she may become unconsciousness. When the person suffers from hypoxia, a condition when there’s a lack of oxygen to the brain, the effects may last a lifetime and may even cause the person to be unable to speak, write, read or perform other tasks for the rest of his or her life, depending on the severity of the damage.

Heroin’s Rise in Popularity

Non 12 step treatment centers are seeing more cases of heroin addiction than ever before. In fact, over 15 percent of people receiving care from non 12 step treatment centers and 12 step treatment centers are there because of an addiction to heroin. This number is higher than ever before. The increase began in 2007 when there were about 373,000 heroin users, and then this number nearly doubled by 2012 to 669,000. The number of deaths from heroin has increased over the years as well. From 2006 to 2010, the number of deaths from it increased by 45 percent. Additionally, urban areas had the highest concentration of heroin addicts in the past. Today in 2016, heroin abuse is becoming a problem in suburban and rural communities.

Why the Rise in Popularity

Oxycontin, Opana and other similar opiates were becoming increasingly more popular. However, the FDA enforced new regulations that changed the chemical structure of the pills in order to make the drugs unable to be chewed or crushed. This prevents the immediate euphoric effect that snorting or injecting has and reduces the potency of the drugs. The new formula for these drugs makes them less potent even when they’re taken orally. Therefore, many people are trying to find a way to snort or inject a drug for immediate gratification at a similar strength. This has led many people to start using heroin since it has a similar effect and can still be snorted or injected.

It’s much cheaper than other opiates. The stronger opiates in higher dosages can run over $50 per pill while a single dose of heroin can cost as little as $15. The FDA placed restrictions on a number of pills and refills a person can obtain of an opiate. This leads many people unable to obtain the drugs they want at a quantity they want, so they turn to a drug that’s easier to obtain. Even people who were prescribed an opioid for pain are turning to heroin to prevent the symptoms of withdrawal when they’re unable to refill their prescription when they need it.

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