CDC – “Heroin deaths increased sharply in many states, according to a report of death certificate data from 28 states published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Despite these findings, still more than twice as many people died from prescription opioid overdoses as died from heroin in these states in 2012. Though not directly addressed by this study, two things appear to be driving the increase in heroin overdoses: (1) widespread prescription opioid exposure and increasing rates of opioid addiction; and (2) increased heroin supply. While the majority of prescription opioid users do not become heroin users, previous research found that approximately 3 out of 4 new heroin users report having abused prescription opioids prior to using heroin. This relationship between prescription opioid abuse and heroin is not surprising; heroin is an opioid, and both drugs act on the same receptors in the brain to produce similar effects. Heroin often costs less than prescription opioids and is increasingly available.”
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