Heroin Overdoses Continues to Climb in Florida & Nationwide

Within a new report released by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the number of heroin overdoses in the United States between 2010 and 2013 has nearly tripled effectively causing an increase in Florida as well. However, if you look at the opposing side of how addicts treat chronic pain, the number of overdoses from prescription painkillers has decreased.

This (once again) goes back to the pill mill bust we saw in Florida a few years back. When the pill mills were busted and the doctors who were illegally prescribing over 650 million painkillers to “patients,” lost their licenses, all those addicts turned to heroin to treat their chronic pain. So, although we may have stopped one aspect of pain killer addiction, it found another loop hole in heroin use.

Reviewing Heroin Overdose Statistics

Although the number of heroin overdoses has seen a dramatic spike that’s extremely concerning, it still hasn’t reached the number of overdoses from painkillers. In 2013, there were 16,235 overdoses resulting from painkillers and 8,257 from heroin. Keep in mind, that’s figure is still a concern. According Holly Hedegaard – an injury epidemiologist at NCHS – who spoke with BuzzFeed News, “The fact that it tripled is clearly a big change. Most things don’t triple in only three years, that’s obviously a big concern.”

Heroin is an equal opportunity drug. It doesn’t discriminate. It cuts across all socioeconomic platforms and it’ll take a multifaceted approach that focuses on public health otherwise it’ll continue to be a game of whack a mole. Arresting someone who uses heroin won’t fix the problem – if an addict is struggling with an addiction, they’ll do whatever they can to get their fix, and it’s the addiction and overdoses that are the problem.

Using Drugs Recreationally

Between the years 2002 and 2011, there was an estimated 25 million people in the United States who were using pain killers as a recreational drug. 12 million of those people didn’t have prescriptions and were obtaining the pills illegally. In 2010, the numbers began to change because the manufacturers of OxyContin made the pills more difficult to crush while the FDA reclassified it as a Schedule II drug – making it harder to obtain.

However, this still didn’t solve the problem we’re facing in 2015. Addiction is a real disease that many don’t see as the epidemic that it truly is. Therefore, aside from supporting a public health motion, we need to support those who are struggling. If you or anyone you know is struggling with heroin or painkiller addiction, look up treatment facilities in your area that can help in recovering a healthy and rewarding life.