Heroin: Huge Jump in Missouri, More White, Suburban, Female Users, Worse Than Meth
The study includes interesting demographic information on users that disproves some myths around the population that abuses this drug, she says.
The majority admitted to public treatment were age 30 and under in 2011 at 56.5 percent, while in 2001, this age group was only 38.4 percent. Further, 60 percent of publicly funded treatment admissions are white, while African Americans make up only 30 percent of heroin treatment. That's a major change compared to ten years ago when the majority of those in treatment were black.
"People stereotype that these individuals...are African American, but that's not the case," she says, adding, "There is more suburban use."
And more females are entering treatment at 41 percent now -- compared to just one third a decade prior.
The study notes that many heroin users begin their use with opiate pills and then move toward heroin as the pills become too expensive or hard to obtain.
One of the major risks centers around potency, Schell notes. It can be very dangerous when someone tries heroin with low potency -- and then next time uses a much more more potent substance.
"When somebody gets heroin, you don't know how pure it is," she says. "The people cutting it are not pharmacists."
Here's the executive summary.
And full report.