New drug abuse trends and popular substances may come and go, but some have made it apparent that they are here to stay. While many of us might have thought heroin abuse was on its way out, recent studies show that the opposite is true.
A Rise in Heroin Treatment Admissions
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) recently reported that an increase in the demand for heroin treatment, as reflected by state-funded treatment attendee statistics reflecting a parallel increase in opiate and heroin abuse nationwide.
Prescription painkiller abuse has also been seen on the rise and is linked to uptrends in heroin–where pill users find their opioid habit to be too pricey or too hard to maintain, heroin serves as a less expensive and more potent replacement.
Sadly, treatment admission for opioid drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone and codeine have also been seen to be on the increase. In 1997, only 1% of substance abusers entering treatment struggled with such prescriptions. As of 2010, that number had shot up to nearly 9%.
US Drug Abuse and Treatment Trends
Experts now suggest that treatment admissions for prescription opiates surpass those linked to cocaine or methamphetamine drugs. Further, marijuana addiction continues to be a primary focus of drug treatment facilities–nearly 20% of all US drug treatment admissions are for the primary abuse of marijuana, the abuse of which substance has been steadily on the rise for almost a decade.
In 2007, it was estimated that there were 5.1 million regular marijuana abusers, whereas in 2012 there were approximately 7.7 million.
Heroin use has also seen significant increases in the past several years. The approximate 370,000 American heroin abusers in 2007 almost doubled by 2012, growing to a staggering 669,000.
Experts happily report that youth prescription drug abuse saw a small downtrend between 2009 and 2012. Further, heavy binge drinking and tobacco use statistics have shown improvements since 2002. Despite this progress, an estimated 23 million American substance abusers struggle with daily substance abuse issues. Only 10% of those invidivuals (2.5 million) received desperately needed specialty treatment, leaving almost 20 million American addicts and alcoholics without proper care.
Preventing Drug Use
Parents have long since been called the keys to drug prevention, and drug experts agree. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration experts agree, acknowledging parents as “America’s strongest preventionists.”
Studies have shown that parents play a key role in the decision making process of their children when it comes to drug use. It has been seen that marijuana use was less among youth whose parents expressed “strong disapproval” of the drug, compared to youth whose parents maintained a silent position or condoned use of the drug.
Further, heroin treatment percentages on the rise give us all reason to be watchful of addiction warning signs in our family, friends and loved ones:
- Drug abuse can precipitate a sudden lack of interest in one’s own personal well-being which can in turn cause major changes in physical appearance – sloppy dressing habits, dirty or unshowered appearance, etc.
- Heroin use can interrupt sleep habits, causing an individual to appear haggard or worn-out.
- The physical damages caused by opiate drugs interrupt metabolism and a number of the body’s natural nutritional functions. Watch for sudden weight loss, dark circles and an overall unhealthy appearance.
- Heroin can be smoked, snorted or injected. Look for injection sites as a tell-tale sign of opiate use – open wounds or infected sores, surrounded by bruising.
Parents, teachers, community leaders and counselors are urged to stay up-to-date on the treatment admission trends and what substance abuse issues plague local counties to best prevent drug abuse from spreading.