Shooting Up At 17: Misconceptions About Heroin
“The first 12-step call I ever did was for a 17-year-old girl in Coppell. I found her sitting on her four poster bed in pink pajamas injecting heroin into her arm.” – KC Davis, Infinite Recovery Executive Director.
If you’re not familiar with Coppell, Texas, it’s a well-to-do Dallas suburb with a population of about 40,000 people – hardly the place most people think of when they think of heroin use. This is why substance abuse is so insidious. We’ve been conditioned to believe things about the type of people that use drugs, blinding us to the reality that drug use is widespread across the United States.
Heroin is no longer just a “street drug.” In the world of 2016 America, heroin addiction now spans the entire country, with addiction impacting people of all ages, races, genders, and incomes. Heroin use has grown significantly in the U.S., and it is hitting young adults the hardest, according to the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The rate of heroin-related overdose deaths increased 286 percent between 2002 and 2013. In 2002, 100 people per 100,000 were addicted to heroin, that number doubled by 2013.
Young People are Using Heroin. The Real Numbers:
- Among the total population in 2014, an estimated 435,000 people aged 12 or older were current heroin users.
- Among those 18-25, 268,000 young adults used heroin in the past year, including 82,000 who currently used heroin when surveyed.
- Heroin use among 18 to 25 year-old Americans increased 109 percent from the period of 2002-2004 to 2011-2013.
- 28,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17 used heroin in the past year and 16,000 currently used heroin at the time of being surveyed.
- The share of people who say they have used heroin in the past year is decreasing for non-whites and those ages 45 to 54.
Changing Perceptions. For years, teens have perceived that heroin is the “most dangerous” drug, but the share of 12 to 17-year-olds who perceive the drug as “very risky” has declined since 2002.
Heroin and Other Drugs are Being Used Together. The rise in heroin use is closely tied to prescription narcotic abuse. The Real Numbers:
- Nine in 10 people who use heroin use it with at least one other drug. Most use it with at least three other drugs.
- Almost half of people addicted to heroin are also addicted to painkillers.
- People are 40 times more likely to be addicted to heroin if they are addicted to prescription painkillers.
- Health officials say that the trend stems in part from doctors prescribing opioids to treat chronic pain in record numbers.
At Infinite Recovery, we support families who are experiencing substance use issues. We offer a confidential hotline at (844) 206-9063. Our admissions team is available 24/7 online.