This is a guest post by Lauren Costine
While it may be sad to admit, as a country, the ongoing problem of heroin abuse and addiction that we have been facing is becoming extremely prevalent and increasingly dire as time goes on.
Heroin addiction and abuse is by no means a new issue for Americans. Its “popularity” has been a concern for decades now. Heroin use is not a new occurrence in the country. However, the abusers and addicts of this harmful drug have changed as the years go by.
So Who Is The New “Face” Of Heroin Abuse And Addiction?
Ask the average American citizen to describe who they think the typical heroin addict or abuser is. Chances are that their responses would be; “low income” or “inner city” or some other synonymous phrase. The reality nowadays is that these past stereotypes of the average heroin addict are simply not true.
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has recently published a study that shows that these stereotypes actually don’t hold much weight in America today. The surprising truth is that heroin use has been becoming extremely common among “suburban” and “affluent” Americans.
This is almost a complete 180 from the previously true stereotypes. Another statistic that is worth mentioning is that the popularity of heroin has been substantially increasing among Caucasian Americans. A larger percentage of them are filling the undesirable ranks of America’s heroin abuser and addict population.
What Are The Warning Signs Of This Growing Heroin Addiction Epidemic?
Yes, heroin and other illegal drugs have maintained their grip on the inner city and are now taking the next logical step towards their next targets. Part of the problem here is that heroin and other illegal drugs are weaving their way into the suburbs and rural areas. They are not following the same “rules” that they did in the big city. Instead, heroin and its fellow drugs are infiltrating the quiet suburbs stealthily while still spreading an alarmingly fast rate.
A few decades ago the gender of people who used and abused heroin was greatly skewed towards males. Nowadays the reality is that males and females are now equally represented as is shown by multiple heroin addiction studies.
Another change in the pattern of heroin addicts and abusers, as evidenced by the aforementioned study, is that over the years the average age of the American heroin addict has increased. Are the addicts simply growing up? No, the more realistic conclusion is that the accessibility and allure of this drug has widened and increased. As a result, more middle-aged suburban residents are garnishing their midlife crisis with heroin.
The aforementioned study also confirms that non-urban areas are seeing an alarmingly significant increase in the amount of heroin addicts and heroin abusers living there. It is hypothesized that this may have something to do with the fact that a great deal of heroin addicts “graduated” to this drug after first getting hooked on prescription opioids – another drug problem that is well known for being rooted in suburbia.
The Numbers May Be Scary But They Don’t Lie
As these illegal and harmful drugs spread the statistics surrounding them seem to get scarier as time goes on. America is on the brink of a deadly drug epidemic (if it quite possibly isn’t already facing one). If you aren’t convinced, then here are some numbers that will sadly scare you into believing. This data was collected from analyzing addicts. The addicts were targeted with drug rehabilitation services across 150 publicly and privately funded centers for drug rehabilitation services.
- Approximately 50 years ago, in the 1960’s, the average age of people who pursued drug rehabilitation services for heroin addiction was 16.5 years old. Today, this number has increased substantially to 22.9 years old.
- Ethnicity also plays a part in these statistics for heroin as well. Only 40 percent of people who sought out drug rehabilitation services were Caucasian. Today, this percentage has shot up to approximately 90 percent.
- Lastly, in the 1960s over 80 percent of the people seeking out drug rehabilitation services for heroin were men. Today, individuals who are seeking out drug rehabilitation services for heroin are an equal mix of male and female.
Heroin Addiction Doesn’t Have To End In Defeat
Heroin addiction might seem like an impossible beast to defeat. With the help of drug rehabilitation services we can start taking back our country from the clutches of this drug, one addict at a time.
Don’t wait a second longer, if you or a loved one has a heroin addiction then get help today!
National Institute on Drug Abuse – Drug Facts, Heroin
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Injury Prevention & Control: Opioid Overdose
National Institute on Drug Abuse – What is the scope of heroin abuse in the United States?
Bio: Lauren Costine is a clinical psychologist, author, educator, advocate, activist, and one of BLVD’s founding members. Her work focuses on addiction and codependency issues, co-occurring disorders, depth psychology, psychodynamic and family systems modalities, and LGBTQ-affirmative psychotherapy. In her efforts to maintain and expand BLVD’s reputation as a top tier treatment center, Lauren continues to develop and monitor the relevancy of the curriculum, methods, and its theoretical understandings as well as measure client satisfaction. In this way she brings the highest quality of standards to BLVD’s treatment programs. Follow BLVD Treatment Centers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more.