Why is Heroin Use Going Through the Roof?

According to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration), heroin use has been on the rise since 2007, increasing from 373,000 annual users to 669,000 within 2012. According to the latest available information from the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), heroin overdose fatalities also have rose, rising 45 percent from 2006 to 2010. Plus, the geography of heroin’s users also has grown. At one time considered a mostly urban issue, public health officials and law enforcement are witnessing an uptick in rural and suburban users.

There will include two main reasons for the drug’s resurgence: A cheaper, larger supply that stems from a rise in heroin importation by cartels in Latin America, and a larger marketplace for opiates, that is driven by prescription painkillers.

Law officials have been seizing more of the drug— the quantity the Drug Enforcement Administration confiscated at the southwest border nearly quadrupled from 2008 to 2010 according to an agency spokesman, Joe Moses— and what they do not catch is being spread around the country. According to Moses, the heroin imported by cartels in Mexico once were sold and consumed mainly west of the Mississippi. Today, as heroin production in Mexico has increased, it’s being distributed around the Midwest and the east coast.