Heroin Addiction Trends In 1996

Heroin addiction trends are overshadowing cocaine addiction in some indicators.

Heroin was the top-ranking emergency department (ED) mention in three of the Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG) cities, and it was the most common primary drug of abuse among drug addiction treatment admissions in six areas. The rate of ED mentions per 100,000 increased significantly in eight cities. Mortality, treatment, arrestee urinalysis, and price/purity figures were mixed, with increases in some cities, declines in others, and heroin addiction trends were stable in others. In six CEWG cities arrestees, both male and female, tested heroin-positive in the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program.

Injecting remains the most common route of heroin administration particularly in the West, but also in some eastern and Midwestern cities. However, it is declining sharply in some cities. Snorting predominates in several eastern and Midwestern cities. Smoking is increasing among heroin treatment admissions in Hawaii, San Diego, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Denver. Younger heroin users tend to snort or smoke the drug. Overall, heroin users tend to be males, older than 35, but in some cities, as Miami--indicate increases among those age 18 - 25. Heroin addiction trends indicate those age 17 and younger still account for relatively few ED mentions or treatment admissions, but even the low numbers, in areas such as Dallas, Minneapolis/St. Paul, San Francisco, and Texas, are a cause for serious concern.

Information released from the National Institute on Drug Abuse