Increases in Heroin Use Highest Among 20-Somethings, Whites

Increase in prevalence of heroin use, heroin use disorder, with increase more pronounced in whites
Increase in prevalence of heroin use, heroin use disorder, with increase more pronounced in whites

HealthDay News — From 2001-2002 to 2012-2013 there was an increase in the prevalence of heroin use and heroin use disorder, according to a study published online March 29 in JAMA Psychiatry.

In an effort to examine changes in heroin use, Silvia S. Martins, MD, PhD, from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues used data from 43,093 respondents of the 2001 to 2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) and 36,309 respondents of the 2012 to 2013 NESARC-III.

The researchers observed a significant increase in the prevalence of heroin use and heroin use disorder from 2001-2002 to 2012-2013 (use, 0.33 to 1.6%; disorder 0.21 to 0.69%; P<0.001). The increase in prevalence of heroin use was more pronounced among white versus nonwhite individuals (0.34 to 1.90% versus 0.32 to 1.05%; P<0.001). The increase in the prevalence of heroin use disorder was greater for white individuals (0.19 to 0.82 percent; P<0.001) than nonwhites (0.25 to 0.43%) and for those aged 18 to 29 years (0.21 to 1.0%; P=0.01) and 30 to 44 years (0.20 to 0.77%; P=0.03) than older adults (0.22 to 0.51%). 

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"Findings highlight the need for educational campaigns regarding harms related to heroin use and the need to expand access to treatment in populations at increased risk for heroin use and heroin use disorder," the authors write.

One author disclosed ties to Inventive Health Consulting, which combines support from nine pharmaceutical companies.

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