The tragic death of actor Cory Monteith due to a lethal combination of alcohol and heroin has underscored the resurgence of the drug and the change in the type of people who abuse the substance. The "junkie" stereotype has given way to a new class of addicts who are higher-income, more educated and seemingly well-adjusted.
"I deal with drug users every day," said Dr. Richard Clark, an emergency room physician at the University of California San Diego Medical Center, to NBC News. "The stereotypical user on the street? That's the past as far as heroin use in the U.S. is concerned. Lots of people are using it these days — kids, teenagers, white-collar workers."
Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that after years of decline, heroin use spiked in 2007. The number of overdoses due to the drug has also increased annually since that year and the CDC expects this to continue to rise.
According to NBC News, there are two major reasons why heroin has increased in popularity. First, it's cheaper and more plentiful than it has ever been before because the drug is now being produced in Mexico and South America. Second, with the crackdown on prescription drug misuse, many opioid addicts are finding that pills are becoming increasingly inaccessible and more expensive. Heroin provides the same high at a fraction of the cost.
These days, heroin is not just an intravenous drug — it can be snorted and smoked, making it much more attractive to adolescents. Heroin abuse is much less obvious than it was in the past, so if you suspect someone in you life of abusing the substance, don't hesitate to investigate further, and if needed, stage a heroin intervention. Contact Intervention Services today to learn how you can help your loved one make a full recovery.