Evidence of reduced heroin abuse among teens

06-19-2017 Posted in drug abuse, opioids

The rise of heroin use following the surge of the opioid crisis that ravaged the United States is only fanning the problem of addiction. With more and more individuals resorting to lesser cost heroin after the heavy crackdown and monitoring of prescription-grade pills, the need of the hour calls for public health and law enforcement agencies to come together to prevent the outbreak of another substance use epidemic.

The latest statistics on heroin use as published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the evidence of a rapid increase in overdose deaths due to heroin use compared to the small increase in overdose deaths caused by natural and semisynthetic prescribed opioids. In addition, heroin overdose deaths starkly hiked by 20.6 percent between 2014 and 2015.

Deceleration in heroin abuse associated with prudent approach among youngsters

A study published by the Saint Louis University on Preventive Medicine, highlights a remarkable change in the perception of teenagers indulging in heroin abuse. It found that more teenagers considered the procurement of heroin to be almost next to impossible task in 2014 compared to 2002. This finding is being unanimously hailed as a motivating factor that can dissuade youngsters from indulging in drug abuse. Moreover, the publication of this study comes at a time when drug abuse and adolescents are seen as synonymous. Such a prudent outlook held by teens is more than welcomed in these trying times.

The study examined the data of more than 230,450 adolescents between ages 12 and 17 years from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) to ascertain substance use and substance-seeking behavior. Compared to the 39 percent of adolescents who regarded access to heroin as “probably impossible” in 2002, the study found that approximately 50 percent of the users were holding the same opinion in 2014. The notion that heroin was easily accessible did not hold water in 2014 as much as it did not in 2002.

Some of the differences witnessed among users are as follows:

  • In 2014, about 6 percent reported that access to heroin was “fairly easy” compared to over 10 percent in 2002.
  • In 2014, approximately 3 percent claimed it was “very easy” to procure heroin compared to 5 percent in 2002.

The result of the study does not come as a surprise to the researchers as the national trends of substance use amidst teens suggest that there is a rise in marijuana use while other substances and drugs continue to decline or have inflated slightly. “Overall the trend data suggests a changing landscape with respect to heroin access among adolescents that converges with recent findings on other illicit drugs,” said Michael Vaughn, Ph.D., professor of social work at Saint Louis University and also the lead author of the study.

Not as grim as it may seem

Substance use patterns fluctuate from one demography to another. Similarly, other factors also come into play, such as age, ethnicity, sex, education and other stressors. The news revolving around heroin generally fail in providing clarity pertaining to the extent of pervasiveness of heroin abuse. This study contradicts the notion that the constant exposure to drugs and substances by adolescents is the root cause of increased substance abuse. However, living in a time when drugs are being pumped into the U.S., especially heroin from Mexico, one can take a sigh of relief by knowing the fact that the inheritors of tomorrow still have their heads on their shoulder.

If you or a loved one is engaged in drug abuse, it is imperative to seek professional help. The 24/7 Drug Addiction Helpline assists in accessing the best drug addiction helpline in the United States that specializes in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-403-5607 or chat online with our medical advisers to know more about the drug abuse helpline in the U.S.