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It was around fifty years ago that researchers reported the average first time user of heroin were males living in urban areas and about the age of 16 but now a new research study says the main users are more likely to be young females, about the age of 24 and living in the suburbs. This new research report was recently printed up in JAMA Psychiatry. Scientists have determined this from a swing in the location of users who have been looking for treatment of addiction over the past couple of decades.
The research study has shown that suburban males and females have been steadily turning to prescription drugs as their pill of choice, but heroin sooner or later becomes more eye-catching to them, because it is actually cheaper to purchase. Dr. Theodore Cicero, who works at Washington University, and is the study’s chief author, states that the use of heroin in women has went up from around 20 percent in the 1950’s to over 50 percent of heroin users today.
Dr. Cicero and his group examined information from a study which involved nearly 3,000 heroin addicts who had entered drug abuse treatment programs all over the United States. The team also talked to nearly 55 addicts about their personal experiences along with why they were using heroin.
Dr. Cicero explained that many of the individuals stated they took heroin to try and fight their depressive moods. He stated that better mental health management in schools and communities at large might start to control heroin abuse. He added that he was looking into whether there was any connection between major depression and severe drug abuse. Overdose is running rampant.
Earlier this year, an extremely powerful batch of heroin was circulating in the New England area and brought a major string of deaths from overdoses. It caused numerous state governors to declare their respective states to be in the middle of heroin emergencies. It also had many different state health officials allow police chiefs to give their officers naloxone, which is an antidote to reverse the potentially deadly happenings of an overdose.
Experts state that the heroin problem of today is due to aggressive prescribing of drugs such as OxyContin around 15 years ago. Prescription opioids continue to be the most prevalent drugs that are abused but heroin users explained they got on to heroin due to the cheaper cost.
Dr. Cicero declared that heroin gives drug users the same high as any prescription opioid but its strength fluctuates. Heroin from the street is unknown, the strength is uncertain, so abusers do no really know what dose they are taking.
There needs to be improved treatment for anyone who is at risk of becoming addicted to heroin or any other drug. People who are drug addicted need to be a top public health concern, urged Dr. Cicero. Physicians also need to think long and hard before prescribing certain types of pain medications. There should always be a major thinking step back before any type of opioid is ever prescribed.
The new research study out on heroin abuse states that the most likely heroin abusers are females, about the age of 24 and residing in the suburbs.
By Kimberly Ruble