Oct 16, 2018 | Updated: 04:34 PM EDT

Heroin-related death quadruples as U.S. battles epidemic

Jul 08, 2015 08:34 PM EDT

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Heroin addiction in the United States saw a steep increase for the last ten years, pushing e nation's ongoing prescription drug epidemic to also rise, federal health officials reported Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that 2.6 out of every 1,000 Americans 12 years old and above have used for the 2011 to 2013 period. The figure saw a 63 rise compared to the 2002 to 2004 rate.

The rate of heroin addicting also saw a stunning 90 percent increase for the, data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed.

Heroin-related deaths, particularly overdoses, increased four times from 2002 until 2013. In 2013 along, 8,257 died.

What is troubling, according to Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC director, is that heroin use and addition has already penetrated in the groups of society that have not yet been exposed to this drug before.

"We're seeing heroin affecting people in urban and rural areas, white, black and Hispanic, low middle and high income. We're seeing heroin diffusing throughout society but we can turn this around," he said.

And, heroin addiction does not just plague cities and urban areas. The use of heroin has also seen a dramatic increase in rural and suburban locations. Dr. Stephen Patrick, assistant professor of pediatrics and health policy and attending neonatologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, revealed that he has been treating a lot of heroin-dependent infants and pregnant women. But the problem is that there is no enough treatment facilities in the countryside.

"It's caught us off guard. I think women do have special needs ... they aren't being addressed in many communities," Patrick said.

There are many reasons for heroin use. Aside from drug abuse, heroin is also used as painkillers because it is more affordable and accessible than prescription drugs, especially for those addicted to opioids. Frieden explained that heroin can be as much as five less expensive compared to other opioid painkillers secretly peddled on the streets.  

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