Based on SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration), annual admissions to substance abuse treatment for primary heroin abuse increased from 228,000 in 1995 to 254,000 in 2005. However, the proportion of primary heroin admissions remained steady at about 14% to 15% of all substance abuse treatment admissions.
The Drug and Alcohol Information System from SAMHSA states that there was a shift in the age at admission of primary heroin injection versus inhalation admissions. In 1995, 37 percent of primary heroin inhalation admissions were younger than 30 years of age at admission; by 2005, this proportion decreased to 22 percent (Figure 2). In contrast, 18 percent of primary heroin injection admissions were younger than 30 years of age at admission in 1995; by 2005, this proportion increased to 36 percent.
Primary Admissions, by age group and route of Admission: 1995 and 2005
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Heroin use by Students, 2005:
** “Lifetime” refers to use at least once during a respondent’s lifetime. “Annual” refers to use at least once during the year preceding an individual’s response to the survey. “30-day” refers to use at least once during the 30 days preceding an individual’s response to the survey.
According to a 2008 Centers for Disease Control testimony, The mortality rates from unintentional drug overdose (not including alcohol) have risen steadily since the early 1970s, and over the past ten years they have reached historic highs. Rates are currently 4 to 5 times higher than the rates during the “black tar” heroin epidemic in the mid-1970s and more than twice what they were during the peak years of crack cocaine in the early 1990s. The rate shown for 2005 translates into 22,400 unintentional and intentional drug overdose deaths. To put this in context, just over 17,000 homicides occurred in 2005. The number of drug overdose deaths does not yet exceed the number of motor vehicle crash deaths overall, but for the first time more people in the 45-54 age group now die of drug overdoses than from traffic crashes.
|DEA Drug Seizures|
|Source: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration official website|