In the past 10 years, over 130,000 babies were born with drug addictions in our country. This catastrophe can be linked to the increase use of heroin. In the course of 11 years, heroin use has increased by 63% and is now effecting people who were least likely to abuse the drug. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control released this data on Tuesday indicating from the years 2002-2013, heroin use has spiked up more than ever. In 2013, an estimated 517,000 people reported to have used heroin or depended on heroin within the past year. Heroin has overwhelmingly claimed more than 8,200 lives in 2013 according to national surveys published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
“Heroin use has increased rapidly across the U.S. and throughout society,” according to CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden during a press conference. “With that increase we are seeing a dramatic rise in deaths.”
What could attribute to such an atrocity? One answer could be attributed to the use of prescription pain killers or opioids. According to a CDC report, people who use pain killers are 40 times more likely to be addicted to heroin. So why would anyone utilizing a prescription for pain resort to heroin? Well heroin provides the same type of high that opioids do and are easily accessible since they are cheaper and do not require a prescription. A recent study has shown that among the people who use heroin, 96% have used another drug while taking heroin, and a shocking 61% have reported to using three other drugs in addition to heroin.
A demographic study shows that heroin use is typically used among men between the ages of 18-25 who make less than $20,000. The use of heroin has doubled it's prevalence in women and non-Hispanic white people. Why is this epidemic beginning to lose control? After examining the facts, heroin is highly common in young men with low income. People use drugs, smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol because of the stress that builds in them. Life can be extensive with many stressful circumstances and obstacles, and not everyone knows how to find peace within themselves during these situations. This is where dependency comes into play. Those who have been victimized by the war on drugs are more likely to fall into the trap of using heroin again.
Now why would they do that after all of the negative experiences it creates? Maybe because some haven't learned their lesson, but others may due to the negative consequences that the war on drug has produced. Many citizens have been victimized as felons for possessing certain drugs after spending time behind bars. The path to becoming clean gets much more complicated and challenging. For starters, having a felony record makes it impossible to find a job that will help pay the bills. Imagine having to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for court and probation fees. In addition to those fees there are multiple classes and counseling sessions that one must attend during his/her probation period. Also as mandatory, probation officers must conduct urine analysis which the probationer is responsible to pay for. Adding all of the mentioned fees and classes can total up to thousands of dollars. When a probationer is working a job that is barely paying their utility bills, rent, insurance, car insurance, car monthly payments, etc. it's plain to see the extreme difficulties that probation can produce for the individual. Not to mention if one is to be late on payments, the PO (probation officer) or court can set a warrant for their arrest. This piles additional late fees to their payments which serves as another obstacle to the path of completing probation. This is why so many people fail probation and cannot finish their sentence. Talk about a hard knock life...
With the ever so increasing use of heroin, prescription pills have surprisingly killed more people than heroin or cocaine. The only difference between heroin and opioids is that one is legal and the other isn't. You are legally allowed to be prescribed prescription drugs by your doctor and pharmacist without going to jail and serving probation, yet it is killing more people than the hard drugs that land you behind bars. With pharmacists and doctors making a sky rocketing profit off this industry, hundreds of thousands are dying each year from the very pills they are being sold. Since there is an increase use of heroin among women, those who go into labor are producing babies that are dependent on heroin or other pain killers. It is sad and painful to see a loved one (mother, father, son, daughter) in pain when suffering an illness treated with prescription pills. But its unimaginable for a mother to see her new born baby trembling and suffering because he/she needs heroin to treat it. America leads the world with most incarcerated per capita, and 50% (95,800 according to the most recent report in September 30th 2014) of those are drug offenders. Taking all these statistics in mind we should question ourselves, is the War on Drugs really effective and working?
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