The CDC Says Heroin Use Is Climbing Among Women

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No time like a Wednesday afternoon to talk about America’s growing heroin problem.


The CDC just released a pretty alarmed new report, which says that in recent years heroin use has increased pretty much across the board in the U.S., with overdoses skyrocketing as well. And: “Some of the greatest increases occurred in demographic groups with historically low rates of heroin use: women, the privately insured, and people with higher incomes.” Men are still bigger users, NPR notes, but women are catching up. (Not a glass ceiling anybody had on their to-do list, I don’t think.) And it’s doubled among people 18 to 25 in the last ten years.

Feeding the problem: the growing abuse of prescription opioids. If you’re addicted to those, you’re 40 times more likely to have a heroin problem. NPR condenses what CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden had to say in a call:

First, he says, the widespread use of opiate painkillers has primed people for heroin addiction. These drugs and heroin have essentially the same active ingredient. The second punch is that heroin is increasingly available, and often far cheaper than prescription painkillers. Frieden estimates that heroin is available on the street at one-fifth the cost of prescription pain pills.

This problem calls for a comprehensive response — one that recognizes the changing demographics of heroin use, says the CDC report, which is co-authored by Christopher Jones at the Food and Drug Administration along with colleagues from the CDC.

The report provides a number of recommendations for controlling the problem, including treatment for current addicts, cracking down on heroin’s availability and doing a better job of tracking prescription opioids and providing guidelines for their being doled out. Dr. Stephen Patrick, a Tennessee neonatologist, also spoke to ABC News:

He said there were not enough treatment centers to help women seeking treatment for their addiction.

“There is a substantial need for treatment and particularly for treatment for young families,” said Patrick citing how many young women were now addicted to heroin compared to 2002.”It’s caught us off guard. I think women do have special needs … they aren’t being addressed in many communities.”

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Photo via AP Images.



It’s always astonishing to me how ready many of my friends are to take opiate painkillers for any ol’ thing. I’m not even talking about the folks who use the drugs recreationally just for funsies, I mean people who pop narcotics for things like head aches and every day of period cramps.

Don’t get me wrong: obviously, there are headaches and cramps in this world that necessitate narcotics, but the ease in which friends will sit and pop those pills over and over, several times a month just blows my mind.

I’ve had some bad cramps. Shit, I’ve had migraines so bad I’ve passed out. I’ve been in a car accident so bad that I had internal bleeding. I even broke my back one time! I’ve never taken narcotics in my entire life. And that’s not to toot toot my own horn or anything, but I guess my point is that it’s interesting to see my every day, regular, otherwise healthy close friends popping Vicodin or Percocet for every day, regular ailments.

So, I guess my rambly point is: I kind of see what the article is saying toward the top.