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Heroin 2.0 – It’s Back And Worse Than Ever

New data involving heroine abuse has turned up an alarming trend in the United States. While many of us have focused our concern on new designer drugs – and mind-altering substances like bath salts have garnered headlines – heroine has made its way back into our cultural fabric in a big way. From 2008 to 2011, according to SAMHSA or The Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration, heroin use (past 12 months) increased from 373,000 to 620,000. In that same time, the number of people dependent on heroin doubled.

The new surge in heroin is punctuated by the death of renowned actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Not only has the heroin problem affected Hollywood and those in the entertainment industry, but average Americans are seeing the heroin problem crop up in their backyards throughout the country. It seems that no-one is safe from its effects.

Many experts attribute the increase in demand for heroin to several factors. First, the crackdown on facilities that were selling prescription pain medications illicitly, have made it much harder to obtain painkillers. Then, the FDA made it harder for patients to get a prescription from their doctors. Further, some drug manufacturers have altered the composition of their product to make them more resistant to abuse. While these are all positive moves, they have also led to heroin becoming a cheaper and more accessible option for those wanting opiates.

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, heroin suppliers have more than kept up with the greater demand. Indeed, the amount of heroin confiscated at the United States border with Mexico has increased by over 200% in the period between 2000 and 2012. With ever more sophisticated smuggling methods, there’s no telling how much more heroine is actually getting through our southern border.

The heroin epidemic that is unfolding today is reminiscent of decades ago when the drug shot to national prominence. This time, however, we see a level of saturation across socioeconomic and geographical lines that is far more troubling than ever before. Clearly, law-enforcement will always be one step behind when it comes to new trends in drug abuse and addiction.  However, we must publicize this rise in heroin abuse so that the message of abstinence reaches as many Americans as possible before it affects them or their families.

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