The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) published the 2016 National Heroin Threat Assessment Summary on June 27, 2016, detailing the threat of heroin and opioid drug abuse in the United States. Heroin is now available in larger quantities, it is being used by a greater number of people, and it is causing an increasing number of hospitalizations and overdose deaths according to this new report. As a result, our country is experiencing a genuine heroin addiction epidemic. The DEA’s report provides key insights about the state of heroin use:
- The number of people reporting current heroin use nearly tripled between 2007 (161,000) and 2014 (435,000).
- Deaths due to synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and its analogues, increased 79 percent from 2013 to 2014.
- Deaths involving heroin more than tripled between 2010 (3,036) and 2014 (10,574) – a rate faster than other illicit drug.
- There is no longer a typical heroin user. Some of the greatest addiction rates occur among higher income women.
- More people seek treatment for heroin use than for any other illicit drug.
The DEA report also noted that thousands of counterfeit pills containing potentially-deadly amounts of fentanyl have been introduced into the U.S. market. Fentanyl is most commonly mixed with white powder heroin or is sold disguised as white powder heroin. This year alone, the agency has issued multiple alerts about fentanyl-related deaths and law enforcement seizures.
Download the full 13-page DEA summary to see detailed charts and maps.