The Shocking Increase in Heroin Deaths


Heroin continues to kill.  Just how bad is it? Beyond bad, and more terrible than you have heard. The numbers should scare the shoes off of you.

According to a report last week by the feds, heroin deaths doubled from 2010 to 2012. That’s a massive spike in a short amount of time that represents a ballooning of a preexisting heroin overdose epidemic. One author of the study gives this reason for this rise: “This big increase in heroin-related deaths is directly tied to the epidemic of narcotic painkiller abuse.” 

Most of our addicted kids, brothers, wives and parents started with a pain pill. After getting hooked, many opted for the cheaper, easier-to-get dope on the streets when the pills ran out. That’s not all. In 2012 alone, more than twice as many people died from prescription narcotic overdoses as died from heroin.

Part of the problem is that addiction carries a stigma, confirmed by research, that makes the epidemic less attractive. This is not unlike when crack wrecked whole urban populations and AIDS mowed down gay men in the early days of HIV. Impacted by the stigmas of the epidemics and the victims’ social positions, our nation took far longer than it should have to respond. The same is happening again.

“About three out of four new heroin users began by using narcotic painkillers,” the report tells us. Previous research had shown a 74% rise in people using heroin older than the age of 12. this report expands on those numbers, finding that:

  • Heroin deaths have climbed 120% among those 45 to 54.
  • Heroin deaths have climbed about 10% among those 25 to 34.

As I’ve written before, many doctors continue to recklessly prescribe prescription narcotics around the country, creating widespread dependency. Physician organizations are starting to realize this, as demonstrated by the American Academy of Neurology’s recent recommendation for more stringent regulations and more careful screening as to who can get which medications. Just because a doctor prescribes you a narcotic doesn’t mean you have to accept it. There are often non-narcotic options for treating pain and anxiety. You just have to ask about them. If you are a person prone to dependency, it is essential that you discuss these alternatives in depth with your doctor.

Remember: Help is available.

I am a recovered addict almost 12 years removed from alcohol and crystal=meth dependence driven by nicotine and bulimia. Yet today I stand recovered from all of them. I devote my life and career to helping others who struggle down a similar path. If you or someone you love is suffering from the disease of addiction, call Breathe Life Healing Centers admission lines today and let us help you recover. We treat all substance addictions including those to pain meds.