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Jul-02-2018 14:00printcomments

Pacific Northwest Seeing Alarming Increase in Heroin Usage

Seattle and Portland continue to be the most dramatic areas of increase.

heroin statistics
CDC Heroin statistics (2018):

(SALEM, Ore.) - There has been an increasing number of reports on heroin usages in the Pacific Northwest. Local government agencies have reported that in recent years, this lethal street drug has claimed more lives than heart disease or cancer.

A Cheap Alternative to Opioids

Quite possibly spiking as a result of its cheap street value of $20 per dose and it’s accessibility with back tar heroin being available from sources like Mexico and South America on the West Coast. Though there’s been an increase in the use of this drug nationwide, Seattle and Portland continue to be the most dramatic areas of increase.

Many heroin suffers who participated in an outpatient in Seattle drug treatment program, started off abusing prescription painkillers prescribed as a result of chronic pain or surgery.

Those who came to depend on prescription pain meds and were unable to find them on the streets at an affordable cost saw heroin as a fast-acting solution that was easier and more affordable to obtain.

Death Tolls Continue to Rise

This potent drug is starting to take its toll on the residents of King County and across the entire Pacific Northwest. According to ABC news, medical examiner reports in Portland, have increased exponentially.

In 1993, there were reportedly 46 heroin-related deaths while that number jumped by 141% totaling 111 deaths in 1999.

Seattle is no different. The area saw huge jumps in heroin overdoses with 47 reported in 1990 and 110 in 1999.

These increases in death have been said to also be linked to its injectability. Black tar, which is the popular form of heroin in the Pacific Northwest is injected into the bloodstream.

The high levels of opiates in the blood lead to fatalities. It is also important to report that many who abuse heroin are also addicted to other drugs and alcohol.

It’s Cheap and Popular

Obtaining heroin is a lot more affordable than obtaining other medications or even prescription grade painkillers.

The low prices make it a more attractive option for users. Not to mention, the glamorization of heroin in the entertainment industries encourage younger audiences to try it out. Seen in everything from movies and television shows to music videos and entertainment news, many jumps at the chance to indulge in the “it drug”.

Abuse of heroin is usually on temporarily stopped when the abuser is caught in the act and jailed or suffers other consequences. These breaks in use, however, do more harm than good.

When they do return to using, they often start with the same dosage they used previously. Their bodies are no longer used to it which results in an overdose.

No One is Speaking Up

Another problem the Pacific Northwest faces is that most users don’t reach out for help. Due to strong drug-trafficking laws, many users fear that contacting someone for assistance will result in their arrest. In turn, they try to deal with the addiction on their own and suffer.

Government leaders and the Public Health office officials realize the immediate need for reform. They are looking into policies that would focus less on arrests and more on rehabilitation.

With government-funded rehab opportunities, it is their hope that their citizens will accept the lifesaver and overcome their addiction.

The Pacific Northwest and the rest of the world continue to battle the rapid increase of street drug use across the nation.

If you or someone you know is struggling to kick their battle with heroin, drug, or alcohol addiction, seek help from a reputable drug rehab program. It just might save their lives.

Sources: David Pitt/ABC News; Special Features Dept.


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