Heroin is a derivative of morphine, which by itself is derived from poppy seedpods. Heroin is characterized by the active ingredient called diacetylmorphine present in it. Appearing as a white or brown powder or as a sticky black substance, it is ingested by snorting, smoking or injecting. When ingested it influences receptors in the brain that go on to create euphoria, clouded thinking and alternate drowsy and wakeful states. It also depresses breathing and can be fatal. It is a highly addictive drug and the addiction statistics are grim and alarming.
Some Heroin Addiction StatisticsIt is estimated that there are at least 150,000 new heroin users every year. These people try the drug for the first time in a year.More first time users are aged below 21 years. A few years ago, this age was 25.Heroin is listed as one of the first drugs that a to-be addict tries out.In the 90s, past-month heroin users' numbers tripled from 68,000 to 208,000. The numbers have since climbed.An average addict spends close to $150 to $200 a day to maintain the drug habit. Many spend much more.In the first year, most addicts are seen to hold on to their jobs or attend schools/colleges while maintaining their habit, whereas they are most interested only in maintaining their drug habit and nothing else after the first year.An estimated 80% of the addicts get a high when they are in company; however, over 80% of those overdosing are found alone.More than 150,000 emergency room visits are attributed to addiction to heroin or involved heroin use in one way or the other. This is about 14% of the total number.Over 50% of unexpected deaths are thought to be caused by heroin or morphine use.There are about 200,000 people who can be classified as addicted to heroin use in the United States.An additional 700,000 are believed to be addicts who are not receiving appropriate de-addiction treatment in the United States.Only about 7 percent to 8 percent of the heroin addicts receive professional assistance to get rid of their addiction.A heroin addict takes in between 150 mg to 250 mg of the drug every day.There have been more deaths due to heroin overdose than traffic accidents in the past year.Men have more chances of developing an addiction to heroin compared to women. The percentage of women addicts is, however, on the rise.Heroin addicts are found across all races, age groups, sexes, and cultures.A full-blown addict can be identified if serious withdrawal symptoms occur in about 48 to 72 hours of the last dose.As of the year 2011, an estimated number of 600,000 heroin addicts need medical treatment for their addiction.In 2010, 4251 deaths occurred due to heroin use. About 80% of these were caused by ingesting the drug combined with alcohol or other drugs. Only 10% died through using heroin alone.A survey in 2000 states showed that the amount spent by the U. S. Government on heroin addiction and other associated costs ranges from $ 15 million to $ 20 million a year.The average age of heroin addicts who presented for treatment was 35 years as of the year 2007. About 3% to 7% of heroin addicts are admitted to hospitals for related problems such as respiratory problems, pneumonia, and lung infections.Death due to heroin overdose typically occurs over a few hours. It is not instantaneous.Heroin overdose rates for both men and women over 35 years of age have had double-digit rises all over the world.Heroin addiction peaked in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s.Heroin is more easily available then many other drugs and heroin addicts are more common. Heroin addiction rehabilitation programs are also more commonly found than for morphine.A person addicted to heroin cannot stop taking the drug without experiencing some of its adverse effects.Studies indicate that one out of every four persons who try heroin become dependent.Studies indicate that as little as a three-day use of injected heroin is sufficient for addiction symptoms to occur.Most heroin addicts are known to have been introduced to the drug by a person they knew very well and trusted.Heroin is more addictive than morphine, treatment is difficult and cravings are more persistent.About 2% of heroin addicts die every year because of their addiction.
Heroin addiction is thus very physically destructive and painful, and rehabilitation can last almost a lifetime in some cases.