Heroin Statistics
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Heroin Statistics

Heroin Statistics: Who’s Using Heroin?

  • The 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) estimated that there were 149,000 new heroin users in 1998 and that nearly 80 percent of them were under the age of 26.
  • Older users (over age 30) continue to be one of the largest user groups in most national data. However, the increase continues in new and young users across the country who are being lured by inexpensive, high-purity heroin that can be sniffed or smoked instead of injected.
  • Although it is difficult to obtain an exact number of heroin users because of the transient nature of this population, several surveys have attempted to provide estimates. A rough estimate of the hardcore addict population in the United States places the number between 750,000 and 1,000,000 users.
  • The United States Department of Health and Human Services National Household Survey on Drug Abuse Study found that, in 2001, approximately 3.1 million Americans (1.4%) 12 years old and older had used heroin at least once in their lifetime. People ages 18 to 25 reported the highest percentage of lifetime heroin use with 1.6% in 2001.
  • According to the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Study in 2002, 1.6% of 8th graders, 1.8% of 10th graders, and 1.7% of 12th graders surveyed reported using heroin at least once during their lifetime. That study also showed that 0.9% of 8th graders, 1.1% of 10th graders, and 1% of 12th graders reported using heroin in the past year. Male students (3.8%) were more likely than female students (2.5%) to report lifetime heroin use.
  • Among college students surveyed in 2001, 1.2% reported using heroin during their lifetime and 0.1% reported using heroin in the 30 days before being surveyed. Of those young adults surveyed between ages 19 and 28, 2% reported using heroin during their lifetime and 0.3% reported using heroin within the 30 days before being surveyed.

Heroin Statistics: How is Heroin Used?

  • Over 80% of heroin users inject with a partner, yet 80% of overdose victims found by paramedics are found alone.
  • The average heroin dependent person uses between 150 - 250 milligrams per day, commonly divided into 3 doses.
  • Intravenous injection provides the greatest intensity and most rapid onset of euphoria (7 to 8 seconds), while intramuscular injection produces a relatively slow onset of euphoria (5 to 8 minutes).
  • Data from the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse suggests an increase in purity is partly responsible for 75 percent of new heroin-addicts who are snorting and smoking, not injecting, the opiate. In 1991 that number was 46 percent.

Heroin Statistics: Heroin Overdose

  • According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, or DAWN, heroin and morphine (which cannot be told apart by medical examiners after the body metabolizes the chemicals) accounted for 51 percent of drug deaths ruled accidental or unexpected in 1999.
  • In 2000, as part of DAWN's Year-End Emergency Data report, heroin related emergency room visits increased by 15 percent from the year before.
  • According to Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) emergency department (ED) data, there were 93,064 reported mentions of heroin in 2001, an increase of 47.4% since 1994.

Heroin Statistics: Heroin Info

  • Current estimates suggest that nearly 600,000 people need treatment for heroin addiction.
  • The average heroin addict spends between $100 and $200 a day to support their heroin addiction. Street-level heroin usually sells for $10 per dose, although prices vary throughout the country.
  • According to What America’s Users Spend on Illegal Drugs, heroin expenditures were an estimated $22 billion in 1990, and decreased to $10 billion in 2000.
  • During 1990, Americans consumed 13.6 metric tons of heroin. Current estimates of heroin consumption remain relatively unchanged and show that 13.3 metric tons of heroin were consumed in 2000.
  • South American heroin is the most prevalent type of heroin in the United States. Colombian criminal groups, operating independently of major cocaine cartels, dominate the smuggling of South American heroin into the United States. Others involved in the transportation of South American heroin include Bahamian, Dominican, Guatemalan, Haitian, Jamaican, and Puerto Rican criminal groups.

Heroin Statistics
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