Did you know that between the year 2000 and 2013, the number of deaths due to heroin quadrupled? Not only had that happened, but the highest jump in the amount of deaths took place mainly after the year 2010. What is even more concerning is that in 2000, the age group most affected by the morbidity of heroin was 45-64 year olds – and more recently, in 2013, 25-44 were the most affected.
Opposed to the public’s perception of heroin users in the past, and the way that society has dealt with users; such as leaning more towards the direction of criminal punishment as opposed to one in need of aid in public health; today, groups hope to redirect solution efforts.
According to the Drug Alliance’s Ethan Nadelmann, “I think there’s a general shift, prompted by the great number of OD fatalities that is moving drug policy in this area, more in the direction of harm reduction and public health. One good example is the significant shift in the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s posture on the issue from 2009 to 2015.”
Many media outlets are now calling the rising rates of heroin fatalities a “national public health crisis”, with countless numbers of publications rolling out with headlines referring to the situation at hand as a “heroin epidemic. ” Furthermore, others have taken steps to not only make the public aware of the present state of opiate use in the country, but also to remedy the problem by preventing youth across America from picking up the habit in the first place.