Heroin Stats

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.

heroin stats

Primary Admissions, by age group and route of Admission: 1995 and 2005

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Heroin use by Students, 2005:
Monitoring the Future Survey
Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health

8th Grders 1-th Graders 12th Graders
Lifetime** 1.5% 1.5% 1.5%
Annual 0.8 0.9 0.8
30-Day 0.5 0.5 0.5

** “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


2006 805
2005 640
2004 672
2003 795
2002 710
2001 753
2000 546
1999 351
1998 370
1997 399
1996 320
1995 876
1994 491
1993 616
1992 722
1991 1,174
1990 535
1989 758
1988 728
1987 512
1986 421
Source: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration official website

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Heroin’s Effects

Heroin’s Background