Heroin Use Spikes in Indiana and Around the Country

Jul 9, 2015

Authorities say some of the blame for the recent jump in heroin use rests on the rise of painkiller prescriptions in the U.S.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

The face of heroin use is changing, and the number of people using the drug is soaring, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control.

The report hits hard in Indiana, where several parts of the state have witnessed an increasing number of heroin-related overdoses.

The CDC’s report shows a jump in heroin use among most demographic groups, and it reveals a 286 percent increase in heroin overdose deaths in just over a decade.

As prescription drugs become more difficult to get, more drug users have turned to heroin, which is cheaper and easier to find.

Indiana DEA training coordinator Gary Ashenfelter says his agency is understaffed, and that's made it harder to mitigate the growth of heroin use.

"It's like we're pushing against a wall, but trouble is if we don't keep pushing, the wall is going to fall on us, and we'll just succumb to it," Ashenfelter says.

The CDC says states can play a "central role" in addressing the issue of heroin use by making programs monitoring prescription drugs easy and timely to use and increasing access to substance abuse treatment services.