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Heroin Abuse Trends Indicate a Growing Concern

For the first time in Gateway's more than 40 year history, during the past year adult admissions for alcohol dependency were surpassed by "opiate dependency," which includes addiction to heroin and opiate prescription medications like OxyContin and Vicodin.

Heroin Abuse Trends

The number of Americans using heroin has increased 75% in the past 5 years.

Heroin-related seizures have increased 50% in the past 5 years.

The fastest growing age group of heroin users is under the age of 21 and lives in upper to middle class suburban and rural areas.

Out of every city in the U.S., Chicago has the highest prevalence of heroin use and associated problems.

Teen Heroin Use: Why Is Heroin Tempting?

As prescription opiates have become harder to obtain and more expensive as a result, users of opiates are migrating to a cheaper, stronger alternative to prescription pills: heroin. 24% of high school students have abused addictive prescription drugs, a 33% increase in 5 years.

  • Today's portrait of a typical heroin user probably isn't what most people imagine. The growth in heroin use is primarily among white, middle and upper class 18-22 year olds, living in America's suburbs and rural areas.
  • An increase in teen heroin use is an unfortunate outcome of another sweeping drug abuse trend among affluent teens: abuse of prescription pain medications, such as Vicodin and Oxycontin.

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