Health

Heroin Users in US: 90% White, Live Outside Urban Areas

In this Jan. 30, 2014 photo provided by New York City's Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, an oven loaded with bricks of heroin is located in a Bronx apartment during a police raid of the location. According to prosecutors it was a sophisticated operation, where workers with coffee grinders and scales toiled around the clock to break down bricks of heroin into thousands of tiny, hit-sized baggies, bearing such stamped brands as "Government Shutdown" and "NFL." Last week's seizure of of 33 pounds of the narcotic was only the latest in a string of apartment heroin operation busts in New York, which has long been known as the nation's capital of smack. (AP Photo/Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor)
In this Jan. 30, 2014 photo provided by New York City’s Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, an oven loaded with bricks of heroin is located in a Bronx apartment during a police raid of the location. (AP Photo/Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor)

 

The vast majority of heroin users has made a complete shift in demographics, according to Bloomberg.

[A research] study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, tracked data from almost 2,800 heroin users and found that first-time users are now generally older than those who began taking the drug in the 1960s. About 90 percent are white, according to the study, and 75 percent now live in non-urban areas.

The research also confirmed a link between the rise of opioid abuse and the growing use of heroin that had been noted in earlier studies. Heroin use has jumped 80 percent to 669,000 users from 2007 to 2012, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, after being relatively stable since 2000.

Heroin “is not confined to inner-city areas,” said Theodore Cicero, the lead author and vice chairman for research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. LouisMissouri. “It’s now a main stream problem.”

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