Health

Heroin and Opiate Use Increasing in Colorado

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The Denver Post is reporting a rise in Opiate and Heroin use in Colorado.

According to The Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Annual Report, a recent federal drug use survey, street use of heroin and other opiate based prescription medicine including oxycodone has doubled between 2000 and 2011.

The May 17 report released by the National Office of Drug Control Policy tracks blood test results of adult males arrested in 10 U.S. cities including Denver. The number of males arrested who tested positive for opiates rose continually between 2000 and 2011.

Heroin arrests increasing in CO

Heroin accounts for 3% of drug arrests in Colorado and is increasing. The abuse of pharmaceutical opiate use is increasing significantly as well. While prescription opiates are more expensive than heroin, people are still abusing them in large numbers and many move from prescription drugs to heroin use.

According to the Denver Office of Drug Strategy, the average new heroin users are under the age of 35, of white, non-Hispanic origin and are more likely to smoke it than inject it. Heroin is the third most abused drugs in the Denver area behind alcohol and marijuana. Heroin overdoses also ranked third in Denver behind marijuana and cocaine for emergency room visits related to drug use.

The Colorado Health Foundation and Denver Office of Drug Strategy, 18% of persons admitted for addiction treatment in 2011 were admitted for heroin and prescription opiate addiction. That surpasses methamphetamine addiction. The third leading cause of deaths that are alcohol or drug related have involved heroin and opiate drugs.

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