January 6, 2015 – Heroin Rise


Anchor lead: Reducing prescriptions for opioids has many turning to heroin, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Opioid drug overdose deaths have doubled from 1999 to 2012, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show, with heroin deaths tripling in that time period.  Eric Strain, a drug addiction expert at Johns Hopkins, describes the data.

STRAIN: There are various national surveys that show that the opiate deaths have been increasing in the United States.  It seems to be running in tandem with the greater availability of the prescription opiates.  One of the things we’re starting to see now as well is people switching over from prescription opiates to heroin use, including IV heroin use.   :20

Strain says what’s really needed is treatment programs that work along with education and interdiction efforts.

STRAIN:  We’ve been less prone to doing the optimal things which is to expand high quality treatment.  When you do provide high quality treatment you can get good outcomes.  :10

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.