The newsLINK Group - Heroin Overdoses

Editorial Library Category: Health Topics: Heroin Overdoses Title: Heroin Overdoses Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Heroin has taken the life of many famous (and infamous) people: Philip Seymour Hoffman is the most recent one, but the list also includes River Phoenix, John Belushi, Chris Farley, Janis Joplin, Jimi Morrison, Sid Vicious, Cory Monteith, Peaches Geldof, and far too many others. Editorial: Heroin Overdoses 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Heroin has taken the life of many famous (and infamous) people: Philip Seymour Hoffman is the most recent one, but the list also includes River Phoenix, John Belushi, Chris Farley, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Sid Vicious, Cory Monteith, Peaches Geldof, and far too many others. According to a recent study released in March 2015 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heroin overdose deaths in the U.S. increased dramatically from 2010 to 2013: Year Number of Deaths 2010 2,789 2011 4,102 2012 5,927 2013 8,260 As shown in the table, the number of people who died from a heroin overdose in 2013 was almost three times as much as the number of people who died for the same reason in 2010. The numbers for 2014 are not available yet, but many who have been researching the subject don’t expect to see a decrease. Who has been affected the most? The answer might surprise you. The people who are most likely to be heroin users are not poor minorities who are living in some inner-city ghetto where they are surrounded by crime and violence. That is nothing more than an outdated stereotype. According to a study published in 2014 by JAMA Psychiatry , which is one of the specialty journals for the American Medical Association (AMA), today’s heroin users are most likely to be white, older, and middle-class. It’s likely that they don’t even live in the city at all. The highest death rates are in the Northeast and Midwest parts of the U.S. The shift seems to have begun in 2010, when middle-aged blacks were the largest category of people to die of heroin overdoses. By 2013 the situation had changed, and the highest death rates were for whites between the ages of 18 and 44. Men were almost four times more likely to die of an overdose than women. What these statistics tell us is that this is not somebody else’s problem; this is a problem in the lives of all kinds of people, and it potentially includes your friends, family, and neighbors. What is it that usually gets people involved with heroine? Unfortunately, the beginning is often with a medical professional who is just trying to help a patient deal with pain. According to another CDC study, released during the fall of 2014, 75 percent of those who started using heroin after 2000 were first introduced by doctors to prescription opioids. These include: Hydrocodone (such as Vicodin), Oxycodone (such as OxyContin and Percocet) Morphine (such as Kadian and Avinza) Codeine The most commonly prescribed products are hydrocodone ones, which are often taken for dental pain or pain that was caused by an injury. Morphine, which is in the seedpods of Asian poppy plants, is most often used to relieve the severe pain that can occur as a result of surgery; morphine can also be used to make heroine. (In addition to being a drug, you should also know that heroine is considered to be a poison.) Codeine is prescribed for mild pain. Some opioids, such as codeine and diphenoxylate (Lomotil), are prescribed to relieve severe diarrhea and coughs. When people develop an addiction to painkillers that they originally got with a doctor’s prescription, they often start buying heroin later when they find out that it is one-tenth the cost of a prescription opiate, is more powerful, and is also easier to get. Being dependent on, or addicted to, an opioid makes it six to 20 times more likely that someone will die from problems related to the opioid than someone who doesn’t have an addiction or dependency.

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