November 20, 2015 – Heroin Use


Anchor lead: At least part of the increase in deaths among middle-aged Caucasians is the result of heroin use, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Heroin use, sometimes along with inappropriate use of prescription opiate medications, is one factor behind the recently reported increase in deaths among middle aged Americans.  Eric Strain, a drug abuse expert at Johns Hopkins, says heroin can be used in a multitude of ways.

Strain: it’s like an opiate, opiates you can swallow, most opiates.  But the best bioavailability is going to be the quick onset, generally by injecting it into a vein, and so that’s what worries you is maybe a person who was smoking heroin or using it in some other fashion, that then starts injecting it, and of course we know that there are all these risks associated with injection drug use behaviors.   :22

Strain says most experts advocate non-judgment when it comes to interventions, but that’s a double-edged sword.

Strain: The conundrum of stigma is that on the one hand we don’t want people to feel constrained about seeking out help if they need help but on the other hand we want people who haven’t used to feel that there’s a stigma to using, so how do we thread that needle?  :16

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.