CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - May 20, 2014) - While the issue of teenagers and young adults abusing heroin is not something new, the fact that there has been a large increase in heroin use among younger teens and adults proves this is an epidemic that will not soon be over. Reports indicate in 2012 an estimated 669,000 people in the United States were in need of treatment for heroin addiction and, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the number of people initiating their first use of heroin was approximately 156,000. Twenty six percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 25 make up the largest age group of individuals seeking treatment, which is a jump from 11 percent who sought treatment in 2008.
"Heroin is not a drug plaguing only socio-economically disadvantaged, inner city populations anymore; it's ravaging America, one city and suburb at a time; it's an equal opportunity offender," said Kim Dennis, MD, CEO and medical director of Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center. "Part of the reason why heroin use is so common with young people is the simple fact that it is cheap and easily accessible."
In the past, Southeast Asia and Colombia were the two main sources of heroin, but now, with recent terrorism and security measures, smuggling heroin across the US and Mexico border has become profitable and logical, and has allowed the cost to drop significantly. The average cost of a single dose of heroin is approximately $10-$20, depending on how pure it is. Today, heroin is at least 70 percent pure while historically, the product being sold was said to have a purity of less than 10 percent. The cost of heroin is now comparable to the cost of other drugs such as marijuana and prescription medications, but provides a much more powerful high, making it more desirable. Because of the higher purity of the drug, people are now able to use it more frequently by smoking and snorting it, without having to deal with the risks, or stigma, of injecting it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, heroin is also the number one killer of illegal drug users.
"In the past five years, we have noticed a steady increase in individuals seeking help for heroin and opioid use disorders," adds Dr. Dennis, who treats women and girls for substance abuse, eating disorders, trauma and other illnesses. "Treatment providers, schools, parents and the community as a whole can work together to help put an end to the increase of heroin use and fatalities associated with it by increasing awareness of the dangers of this powerful and addictive drug."
Community outlets, such as hospitals, libraries, and schools, can also aid in this process by providing educational classes for individuals who may be concerned about a loved one struggling with addiction. Schools can work closely with parents if there are questions or concerns regarding the behaviors of their students which they feel may be indicative of possible drug use disorders.
Treatment programs such as those offered at Timberline Knolls can provide knowledgeable resources for those with questions regarding what heroin is and what it means to be addicted to it. They can provide free assessments that will aid in the process of developing a track for recovery. And, most importantly, they will work to help provide therapeutic and medical interventions for those who need it.
Individuals addicted to heroin rarely seek treatment on their own and many don't even realize their use has become a problem.
"Getting these individuals to a point where they can admit that they need help will be a challenge, but by pooling together family, community and professional resources, we can work towards developing a plan aimed at eliminating this problem," adds Dr. Dennis.
About Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center:
Timberline Knolls is a leading private residential treatment center for women and adolescent girls (ages 12 - 65+) with eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, mood and co-occurring disorders. Located in suburban Chicago, residents receive excellent clinical care from a highly trained professional staff on a picturesque 43-acre wooded campus. Women and families seeking Christian treatment can opt for specialized Christian-based therapy. For more information on Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, call us at 877.257.9611. We are also on Facebook -- Timberline Knolls, and Twitter -- Timberline Knolls.