Heroin Loves The Middle-Class
Heroin users aren't always the strung-out addict in the alley or bridge underpass. More and more often, they're the middle-class housewife next door!
Heroin use is reaching into new communities - addicting more and more women and middle-class users - as people hooked on prescription painkillers transition to cheaper illegal drugs, a new report shows.
The rate of heroin use doubled among women over a decade, according to the study released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which compared data from the three-year period between 2002 to 2004 with data from 2011 to 2014.
Heroin use also grew by 60% among those with annual household incomes of at least $50,000 - close to the median household income in the United States. Heroin use grew by 62.5% among those with private insurance, an indication that the users are employed and more financially secure.
The report shows that heroin addiction can affect anyone, said Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner and an emergency medicine physician.
"I can tell you from my experience in the ER that you cannot predict this addiction, any more than you can predict who has diabetes," Wen said. "We see addiction in all walks of life, from 60-year-olds to teenagers, in people of all races, in men and women."
Locally, agencies like PAACA. Positive Action Against Chemical Addiction, have also seen an increase in heroin use. Governor Charlie Baker has made this issue one of his top priorities.