Comment
0
Tweet
0
Print
RSS Feeds

A look at heroin use, deaths in some US states

Sunday - 4/6/2014, 2:56am  ET

In this Feb. 9, 2013 photo, Phil Wahby, of St. Louis, an outreach coordinator with the STLHeroinHelp organization, waves to motorists during an anti-heroin rally in Belleville, Ill. Coroners from the Chicago area to St. Louis' Illinois suburbs say heroin overdose deaths have spiked in recent years, given the relative cheapness, purity, potency and broad availability. (AP Photo/Belleville News-Democrat, Tim Vizer)

ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS
Associated Press

In and around Cleveland, heroin-related overdoses killed 195 people last year, shattering the previous record. Some Ohio police chiefs say heroin is easier for kids to get than beer. In Missouri, admissions to treatment programs for heroin addiction rose 700 percent in the past two decades. In Massachusetts, state police say at least 185 people have died from suspected heroin overdoses in the state since Nov. 1, and the governor has declared a public health emergency.

With heroin use rising across the U.S., The Associated Press queried state health departments, medical examiner's offices and law enforcement agencies across the nation for statistics related to use, overdoses and treatment to obtain a more detailed picture of the problem on the ground. While some states reported few changes, others pointed to heroin as a significant public health concern. A look at some state-specific findings:

-- CALIFORNIA: California has seen an increase in heroin addicts seeking treatment since fiscal year 2006-2007, as a proportion of addicts seeking treatment for all drugs including alcohol. Despite that, heroin has generally been overshadowed by methamphetamine use over the last 20 years.

-- COLORADO: Heroin deaths are increasing sharply among people in their 20s and 30s, but most age groups are affected. While six teens died of heroin overdoses in the past dozen years, five teenage boys died of heroin overdoses in the state in 2012 alone.

-- CONNECTICUT: The state reports 10,183 people admitted for treatment for heroin last year at licensed programs, up from 8,954 in 2012 and the highest total in eight years. Heroin-related overdose deaths went from 174 in 2012 to 257 last year, a 48 percent increase. The figures include heroin alone and heroin with other drugs.

-- FLORIDA: The number of heroin-related deaths statewide nearly doubled between 2011 and 2012, from 57 to 108, with an increase from 15 to 33 deaths in the Miami area. Admissions for drug treatment where heroin was the primary drug rose from 4 percent of all substance abuse admissions around Miami in 2012 to 8 percent in the first half of 2013.

-- ILLINOIS: Heroin's impact is felt from the suburbs of Chicago to those near St. Louis. In DuPage County, the number of heroin deaths stayed in the 20s each year from 2007 through 2011, then rose to 43 in 2012 and 46 last year. Last year's youngest victim was 15 years old. Madison County, northeast of St. Louis, tallied 23 heroin deaths last year, more than two-thirds greater than the seven in 2009.

-- INDIANA: Heroin use reported by addicts getting treatment rose from 2.6 percent in 2001 to 6.6 percent in 2010, the most recent year for which statistics were available.

-- LOUISIANA: Heroin overdose deaths rose from five in 2008 to 110 in 2012.

-- MASSACHUSETTS: In March, Gov. Deval Patrick declared a public health emergency in response to heroin overdoses and opioid addiction. State police say at least 185 people have died from suspected heroin overdoses in the state since Nov. 1, a figure that does not even include overdose deaths in the state's three largest cities. The number of people dying from opiate overdose, which could include heroin but also painkillers such as oxycodone, has nearly doubled from 2000, with 642 deaths reported for 2011.

-- MICHIGAN: Heroin overdose deaths increased from 271 from the four-year period of 1999-2002 to 728 from 2010-2012. Admissions to publicly funded programs for heroin treatment nearly doubled from 7,300 in 2000 to about 13,600 in 2013.

-- MINNESOTA: In 1993, 450 people were admitted for treatment for heroin abuse in the state. That grew to 4,519 for just part of 2013, with final data for that year still being tallied. The state recorded three heroin-related deaths in 1999 compared with 50 in 2011 and 49 in 2012. According to preliminary data, the number of heroin-related deaths rose to 98 in 2013.

-- MISSOURI: The upturn in heroin problems in St. Louis County has prompted police to hold town hall meetings in high school gyms to alert parents to warning signs. In 2001, state records listed 18 heroin overdose deaths. By 2011, the number reached 245.

-- NEW HAMPSHIRE: In 2013, 68 people died of heroin-related overdoses, compared with 38 the previous year and 16 in 2008. Also rising are burglaries, robberies and assaults associated with drug-seeking. State police say 13 percent of traffic stops and arrests that led to blood or urine tests in 2013 involved heroin.

-- NEW JERSEY: State officials are seeing a jump in those seeking treatment who live in suburban areas versus cities. Overall, the number of people seeking treatment for heroin abuse hit a five-year high of 25,442 in 2012, the latest year for which statistics were available. In 2012, 591 people died of heroin overdoses statewide, up from 443 the previous year.

   1 2  -  Next page  >>