Heroin Use Skyrocketed in a Decade

Last Updated: Monday, April 3, 2017

Heroin use in the U.S. more than quadrupled during the last decade according to a study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The eye-opening survey highlights the shift in drug use during that time.

The school’s researchers compared two sets of survey data (one from 2001-2002, the other from 2012-2013) from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions to reach their conclusions. Almost 80,000 people responded to the surveys in total.

According to the analysis, the rate of heroin use went up from   0.33 percent earlier in the decade to 1.6 percent in the 2012-2013 study. Along those same lines, users who developed a heroin disorder tripled (from 0.21 percent to 0.69 percent) during that same time. 

The increase in heroin use was significantly more prominent among whites than non-whites. Heroin use in whites soared – increasing from 0.34 percent to 1.9 percent.

The study also shows a connection between the use of prescription opioids and increased heroin use. In the earlier study, about 36 percent of respondents reported using prescription opioids before starting heroin; that number shot up to 53 percent by the 2012-13 survey. 

Read: Changes in US Lifetime Heroin Use and Heroin Use Disorder. 


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