According to an annual threat assessment report by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, users of heroin in the country are starting at a younger age.
In 2009, the average age when a heroin abuser first started the drug was 25.5 years old. In 2010, it dropped to 21.4 years old, and settled at 22 years old in 2011.
In cities such as Minneapolis, Minnesota, 19.9 percent of people arrested who tested positive for heroin was under the age of 21. Between 2010 t0 2011, the number of heroin deaths in Minneapolis increased from 16 deaths to 46 deaths. Arrests for heroin trafficking has also increased.
In 2010, a estimated 142,000 people tried heroin for the first time in the United States. In 2011, the number of first time heroin users increased to 178,000. During the time period of 2002 to 2008, the average range of first time heroin users was between 91,000 to 118,000.
(Heroin street prices worldwide.)
Source (PDF): “National Drug Threat Assessment Summary 2013,” U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, November 2013, page 6.
In the Midwest region of the United States, the Sinaloa drug cartel is offering heroin at a cheaper rate the prescription pain killers.
According to a report by Bloomberg, users who are addicted to painkillers turn to heroin due to the costs. One pills of Vicodin sold on the black market costs around $5 to $6. As a user becomes more addicted to the pill, more pills are necessary to satisfy the craving. One user stated that she was taking up to 10 Vicodin pills a day for a cost of $50 per day.
The Sinaloa cartel, on the other hand, was offering one-tenth of a gram for $10. Due to the strength of the heroin, two to three hits of heroin could last the same user for the entire day, cutting down on the costs. The Sinaloa cartel’s heroin is 94 percent pure, according to security services, and is a point of pride for the cartel.
Up to 50 metric tons of heroin is produced in Mexico each year. Nearly half of all heroin abused in the United States is produced in Mexico, with the remaining heroin being smuggled in from South America and Asia.
(See heroin prices worldwide.)
Source: Andrew Martin, “Cartel Hits Midwest With Heroin Killing Chicago Youth,” Bloomberg, November 12, 2013.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported that the total area in Afghanistan that was planted with opium was 209,000 hectares in 2013.Out of the total area, the potential production of opium was 5,500 tones.
The are of opium cultivation in 2013 was the highest levels ever recorded an a 36 percent increase from the year before. It was also the first time ever that the total area of opium cultivation was over 200,000 hectares.
Source: “Afghanistan opium harvest at record high – UNODC,” BBC News, November 13, 2013.
Federal data from the United States showed that nearly 80 percent of people who used heroin in 2011 also previously abused prescription painkillers in 2011.
The rise in prescription drug abuse in the United States has lead to a rise in the number of people using heroin. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of people using heroin in the United States increased from 373,000 to 669,000.
Health experts state that when people become addicted to painkillers, the will turn to the black market to find pills to satisfy their addiction. If they can’t find pills, then they will turn to heroin.
Both heroin and prescription painkillers such as oxycodone are derived from opium. They both share a similar molecule that attaches to the brain’s receptor, which gives the user a positive feeling when the drug is taken, and a negative feeling when it is not taken. Thus, both painkillers and heroin are extremely addictive to users and are interchangeable when addicted.
Source: “With Rise Of Painkiller Abuse, A Closer Look At Heroin,” NPR, November 2, 2013.
There were an estimated 1.6 million drug users in Afghanistan in 2013, roughly 5.3 percent of the country’s population. 10 percent of households across Afghanistan has at least one drug user residing there.
In the city of Herat, 20 percent of households has a drug user residing there with roughly 8 percent of the city population abusing drugs. Across the entire province, security officials state that there are 60,000 to 70,000 drug addicts, with health officials claiming 100,000. 18 percent of intravenous drug users in the city were infected with HIV, compared to 3 percent of intravenous drug users in Kabul.
In October 2013, the intelligence agency of Afghanistan fired 65 employees because they were addicted to opium.
In order to treat the drug addicts, there are under 28,000 formal drug treatment slots available nationwide, according to health officials. The government of Afghanistan spends less than $4 Million a year on treatment, and relies on $12 Million in international aid to meet the costs.
Between 2001 and 2013, the United States has spent over $6 Billion to battle the opium industry in Afghanistan. In 2010 to 2012, opium cultivation increased to its highest levels since 2008. Demand for Afghan heroin and the prices of heroin have remained steady.
Source: Azam Ahmed, “That Other Big Afghan Crisis, the Growing Army of Addicts,” New York Times, November 2, 2013.
Nyaope, or Whoonga, is a street drug that is popular in South Africa. The drug is made up of various products, such as marijuana, low-grade heroin, rat poison and HIV-antiretrovirals. The drug is sold on the black market for $30 (30 South African Rand).
Health officials started to notice indicents of the drugs begiing in 2007 and have seen a rise in the number of incidents. At a single drug treatment center near Johannesburg, 63 people received treatment for nyaope addiction in April 2013. In June, the number of addicts receiving treatment increased to 134, and 223 patients were recorded in August 2013.
(Heroin prices by country.)
Source: “South Africa’s poorest hooked on cocktail of heroin and anti-HIV drugs,” NBC News, October 31, 2013.
In a study of global commercial truck drivers, nearly half of drivers tested postive to using alcohol when driving, and 30 percent used amphetamines to stay awake during long trips.
The study conducted by the Universidada Estadual de Londrina in Brazil found that the number of users varied widely by country. In Brazil, 91 percent of truck drivers stated that they drank alcohol while working, compared to 9 percent in Pakistan.
83 percent of truck drivers in Thailand tested positive for amphetamines, compared to 0.2 percent in Norway.
In the United States, 12.5 percent of commercial drivers tested positive for alcohol.
The Federal Highway Police in Brazil stated that marijuana, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines and LSD were all easily found at gas stations and rest stop locations. Brazil has the most traffic accidents in the world.
Source: Kathyrn Doyle, “Drug use high among commercial truck drivers: study,” Reuters, October 25, 2013.
Statistics from the Australian Institute for Health, Welfare, Alcohol and other drug treatment services show that there has been an increase in the number of Australians over the age of 50 receiving treatment for drug addiction.
Between the time span of 2004 to 2012, the rate of Australians over 50 receiving drug treatment for cocaine addiction increased by 247 percent.
Heroin rehab admissions increased by 138 percent.
The number of Australians between the age of 50 to 59 who received treatment for marijuana increased by 163 percent, and 231 percent for those over 60.
The biggest surge in drug treatment programs were for amphetamine and methamphetamine abuse. Australians between the age of 50 to 59 increased their treatment for amphetamine by 407 percent, and a 321 percent increase for those over 60.
(Price of marijuana worldwide.)
Source: Jackie Sinnerton and Lisa Cornish, “Drug use spikes as baby boomers return to bad habits of their youth in 1960s, with amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine and heroin,” News.com.au, OCtober 20, 2013.
A survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that the US state of Vermont has the highest rate of illegal drug abuse in the country. 15 percent of residents of Vermont used an illicit drug within the past month when surveyed. In comparison, Utah had the lowest amount of drug use with 4.2 percent of its residents using an illegal drug.
13 percent of Vermont’s residents used marijuana.
Heroin us is also increasing in use and the price of the drug is increasing as well. A bag of heroin can cost $5 in large cities, but costs up to $30 in Rutland, Vermont.
(Cost of heroin by country.)
Source: Pamela Engel, “Why Vermont Has a Drug Problem,” Slate, October 13, 2013.