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Heroin Abuse In The United States

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Heroin Abuse in the United States


Heroin is a highly used drug that is made from morphine, and has large mental effects on users. (“Heroin Overdose Data | Drug Overdose | CDC Injury Center,” 2017) Heroin is a widely spread drug that is used all over the United States that can be taken in different ways. Those different ways include, “snorted, smoked or injected into an individual’s blood directly” (“How long does heroin stay in your system?” 2012). There has been an increase in the number of individuals that have used heroin and the rate of use in the United since the late 19’s and early 2000’s, more so with the young adolescents and the young adults (“Increases in Drug and Opioid Overdose Deaths — United States, 2000–2014,” 2016). Individuals who use heroin are subjected to abuse other drugs. A


Heroin is one of the most detrimental drugs there are, and the affects that it has are vital. Heroin abuse has many affects, some of those affects involve those the abusers have with their families, communities and friends. Some abusers lose relationships with their family, they lose ties to their community and their friends no longer want to support there terrible addictions. Parents who abuse these type of drugs may be likely to have poor relationships with their children (NDIC, 2006, p.. 1). Children will not trust their parent, disrespect them and that will put a strain in their relationship (NDIC, 2006, p. 2).

According to a source “The need of drugs are put before the health and wealth of the children” (NDIC, 2006, p. 2). The Drug abuse by the parent leading to improper care, including neglect and/or abuse of the children can ultimately lead to negative affects such as the children to be taken away from the parents. According to a source, “Parents drug abuse can lead to their children being giving to the system, either foster care, giving to relatives or be giving up for adoption” (NDIC, 2006, p. 1).

Another problem due to parent drug abuse is Children not having mother or father figures, which forces children to provide for the family and mature earlier than most This is a negative affect and consequence as well because this can lead to those children engaging in deviant behavior because they now have the mindset of providing which means making money, and they often do it illegally which can lead to crime, death, or jail (NDIC, 2006, p 1). Parental abuse can also lead to many mental factors, “Children in environments with parent drug abusers suffer from fear, emotional disorders ,that ultimately lead to violence (NDIC, 2006, p. 1).

The huge impact that the parent abusers have on the children is widespread, but there is also a huge problem with the children who are heroin abusers and the affects it has on the parents. The affects are very similar and detrimental within the children abusers. However according to a study, the children abusers are acting on what they have seen constantly with their parents. Heroin use among children is worse than starting use at older age because it makes it much harder to stop. Parents are emotionally and mentally affected. Parents are unable to function with the drug abuse of their children which lead to distance and tension within the family. According to a source “Parents feel stressed and depressed” (NDIC, 2006, p. 2).

Marriage is another key component. When an abuser is married it has a huge impact. The impact is that they can lose their relationship totally and ultimately lose out on their entire family. They can lose it to death, jail, physical and/or mental illness, and other consequences. According to a source “Marriages are lost, spouses feel toxic, mentally unstable and they have to take on most of the duties” (Recovery Village, N.d, p. 1).

The medical side of heroin abuse is also a huge adverse consequence according to sources. Through medical examination there is a high percent of abusers overdosing on the drug, some can be saved and some cannot. Throughout the years heroin has been a huge problem throughout the United States, and continues. There are short term and long-term effects of abusers as well. Short term affects being those “users experiences mental breakdowns, skin affects, and nausea” (NIH, 2018, p.2). Long term effects “infections being with the heart, lung and kidney failures which can lead to death” (NIH, 2018, p. 2).

A large number of individuals have had diseases and infections due to abuse. Some diseases include kidney failure, HIV infections, and even lung diseases. (NIH, 2018, p. 2.) Another adverse consequence of heroin abuse is the community in which those individuals have ties to. Crime can occur because of the dealers coming into the neighborhoods and it can create tension with neighbors and have fear affects (Recovery Village, N.d, p. 1). It can be very deadly and negative in terms of a community causing a large number of problems. Those type of problems include crime, and the types of crime can differ from Robbery, increase in police security, the community being labeled high crime and ultimately death (Recovery Village, N.d. p. 1).


Heroin all across the United States as said earlier is on a constant rise and is currently reaching some of its highest rates. Since 2005 Heroin has been constantly increasing in the numbers of people as well as rates of death from overdose. Looking at recent data from 2014, the Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) found that more than 47 thousand people died from heroin overdose in the United States. Also, this results in a rate of 15.5 per 100,000in 2014 (CDC, 2016, p.2)

In 2013, The CDC found that more than half the percentage has went up almost 25% from 2013 to 2015, reaching “more than 52,000 people that died from overdose more than half of the individuals used heroin” (CDC, 2016, p. 3). Since 2012, every year has went up almost 25% within overdoses from heroin abuse. The constant rise has leaded to nearly 70,000 individuals dying over overdose from heroin which is nearly the most Deaths the United States has seen in many years. In 2016, the CDC had data on different states with large numbers of overdose deaths. They mentioned four states that had higher rates throughout the United States, The top were West Virginia (50.0 per 100,000, Pennsylvania 37.5 per 100,000, New Hampshire 38.3 per 100,00, and Kentucky (34.0 per 100,000) (CDC, 2016, P.1).

These are indications of the large number of heroin overdoes throughout the United States each per 100,000, and these four states are suffering largely. The National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) performed surveys on children. The people eligible for their surveys are household residents age 12 and over. I believe the lowest age was 12. They performed surveys on people living in colleges and residents of houses. With the results from the survey, it was found that most individuals that use heroin are the young adolescents ranging from age 18-25. From a period of 2 years heroin use was not separated by much, in fact from 2014-2017 it was a heroin separation of .5%. The survey also calculated that young adults in the first stages of their teen years was suffering from Heroin abuse, “Approximately 600,000 individuals from age 13, suffered from early on heroin abuse” (NSDUH, 2016, p. 27, 28).


The survey did not include past living situations it only focused on individuals living stable lives. It did not include homeless people, arrested individuals or transient living circumstances and these individuals are subjected to use heroin than household residents who were eligible for the survey. It is important to know that with leaving these individual’s out, it lacks ton of data, and those are the individuals more subjected to using heroin and other drugs. Only limiting its data to children 12 and over was a huge problem as well. The national survey does not survey everyone only those who want to be surveyed and because of that the data is only subjected to a certain percentage of surveys amongst different ages.

For example, “only 25% of children aged 12-17 were surveyed” (NSDUH, 2016, P.2). That doubled in the number of individuals surveyed between the ages of 26 and higher at 50%. The data is not evenly distributed which is another limitation. Some important information to know is the data represented by the survey that talked about who used the most and who used the less drugs amongst the age groups. With 50% or half of the surveys being individuals over 26, the individuals who used the most drugs were in the age group of 18-25. According to the survey done in 2016, “ages 18-25 used heroin .3%” (NSDUH, 2016, P.18). More data according to the source reported that “Individuals aged 26 and up used heroin less than .2%” (NSDUH, 2016, Pg.18-19). Data reported the lowest percentage was the “Kids 12-17, using less than .1%” (NSDUH, 2016, P.18).

The problem with some of this data is that it can be false, with individuals not being truthful because of the lack of proper questioning. The surveys ask questioning based on age, and does not ask every age group the same questions which is another limitation. We must note that it is not uncommon for participants of the survey to tell the truth, and also refuse to participate in the survey entirely. Another limitation in the reports based on death by the CDC, while it does give information on individual cause of death, it is limited in being able to identify what type of drug was used (CDC, 2016, p 2. Forensic examiners are able to perform autopsies, within those autopsies they are able to tell what drugs may have caused overdose, but it is very limited because it can also be other factors such as “Blood pressure, kidney failure, and heart failure” (Advance Healthcare, 2017), that has contributed to death as well. Autopsies also cannot always determine whether the drug was legally obtained or not.


  1. How long does heroin stay in your system? (2012, March 6). Retrieved from https://drug.addictionblog.org/how-long-does-heroin-stay-in-your-system/Heroin Overdose Data | Drug Overdose |
  2. CDC Injury Center. (2017, January 26). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/heroin.html
  3. Increases in Drug and Opioid Overdose Deaths — United States, 2000–2014. (2016, January 1). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6450a3.htm
  4. The Impact of Drugs on Society – National Drug Threat Assessment 2006. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs11/18862/impact.htm
  5. Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2015 | MMWR. (2017, August 14). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm655051e1.htm
  6. Bowden, E. (2017, July 14). How Heroin Addiction Affects Families. Retrieved from https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/heroin-addiction/how-heroin-addiction-affects-families/#gref
  7. Toxicology Tests and Autopsies | Laboratory Manager. (2016, November 8). Retrieved from http://laboratory-manager.advanceweb.com/toxicology-tests-and-autopsies/
  8. Substance abuse and mental health services administration. (2017). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the united states: Results from a 2016 National Survey on drug use. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2016/NSDUH-FFR1-2016.pdf

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