A recent article from the Wall Street Journal highlights the rapid growth of heroin use in America over the past decade.

According to the WSJ graph (pictured here), you can see that heroin use increased by 53% from 2002 to 2011, totaling more than 620,000 past-month users in the country. The article also talks about the popularity of heroin in rural parts of America, including states such as Washington.

Not too long ago, there was a big media trend covering “Hillbilly Heroin” users in the Appalachians. This was the result of people in rural towns getting addicted to prescription painkillers they were obtaining from doctors in Florida and transporting back to states such as Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia and the Carolinas. One of the primary culprits was the drug OxyContin.

However, from Washington to Florida, and crisscrossing the country every other direction, more people are turning to heroin as prescription drug regulations have made them harder to get in many areas. Florida passed emergency laws governing what were called “Pill Mills” to have tighter regulations on doctors offices (mostly pain clinics) that also had pharmacies on site.

There is also the factor that heroin is generally stronger and cheaper than prescription narcotics. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that in 2011, 4.2 million Americans aged 12 or older (or 1.6 percent) had used heroin at least once in their lives. It is estimated that about 23 percent of individuals who use heroin become dependent on it. Based on the growing rate of use, there will be an influx of people seeking treatment for heroin addiction.

If you or someone you love is in need of help because of heroin abuse or any other substance, contact Addiction Treatment Services today for information about programs that save lives.