n this 2011 photo, results of a Regional Street Enforcement Team and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency raid show 3 pounds of heroin, 3 ounces of cocaine and $10,639 in cash.
(Photo: RGJ file photo )
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Some states, including Nevada, are reporting a rise in heroin use as many addicts shift from more costly and harder-to-get prescription opiates to this cheaper alternative. A look at what’s happening in Nevada:
Drug counselors and law enforcement officers say they see a direct tie between heroin use and abuse of prescription painkillers like Oxycodone. Patients become hooked on doctor prescribed medications, then go in search of supplies on the black market when their prescriptions run out. But a single pill on the street can run as much as $80 a pop. Heroin is more prevalent on the street and cheaper — about $15 for a fix.
But officials are also seeing younger people trying heroin at an earlier age. “Ten or 12 years ago we saw no kids using heroin or opiates,” said Kevin Quint, bureau chief for the state Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Agency. “The last four or five years, the numbers have increased dramatically.”
Reno Police Sgt. Ron Chalmers said law enforcement has seen a massive increase in the amount of heroin seizures in recent years. He’s also experienced the heartache of heroin, having watched his younger brother struggle with addiction most of his adult life. Read More…
Glenna, a FROST’D worker, holds up photographs of when she was using. March 27th, 2014. Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed
With heroin use at epidemic levels, harm reduction — a bold, long-contested approach to treating addicts — is gaining political traction. But are we ready to make it easier to shoot heroin even if it means fewer deaths?
On a chilly Monday morning in mid-March on Coney Island, down Surf Avenue from the famous Wonder Wheel and Cyclone, a parked Dodge van blasts its heater. Stuffed with all manner of injection-drug paraphernalia — needles of different gauges, cookers, ties, pearl-sized cotton balls, alcohol wipes — as well as plastic bags of nonperishable food items called “pantry” and thousands of condoms and lube packets, it’s a clinical stockroom meets therapist’s office on wheels. The van has these supplies to make using drugs safer, all for free — though getting high in the van is not permitted.
Ian, 60, sits in the back of the van, rubbing his hands to keep warm. “I used for over 45 years. Last 25 years was basically crack,” he says. He suffered what he calls “three minor strokes” that doctors said should have killed him, but kept getting high. So when someone slid a flier under his door for something called harm reduction — an approach to combating drug use that allows the person to continue to get high, but in a safer way — he was interested. Slowly, he decreased his use from daily, to weekends, to monthly — until he could finally quit. Now he works for FROST’D (Foundation for Research on Sexually Transmitted Diseases) — one of New York City’s harm reduction programs and the organization that runs this mobile unit — as a peer educator, a paid, part-time position that serves as a bridge between the staff and the communities they serve. Read More…
Researchers at George Washington University found a dramatic increase in opioid prescriptions during emergency department visits over the last decade, while only a modest increase in pain-related complaints.
“This trend is especially concerning given dramatic increases in opioid-related overdoses and fatalities in recent years,” said Maryann Mazer-Amirshahi, M.D., co-author of the study and adjunct instructor of emergency medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS). “Using prescription opioids to treat acute painful conditions in emergency departments and hospitals might do more harm than good, as they can potentially lead to misuse and addiction. More needs to be done to monitor opioid prescriptions in emergency departments — having recommended standard approaches may be a good starting point.”
Read more here
Image from New York Post
“Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead of an apparent heroin overdose — with a hypodermic needle still stuck in his arm and 70 baggies of the drug inside his Greenwich Village pad Sunday, authorities said. He was 46.” Read more at via the New York Post by clicking here.
Approximately 100 Americans died from overdose every day in 2010. In just one year, we lost 38,000 people to overdose—more than the number who died from either homicides or traffic crashes. 22,000 of those deaths involved prescription drugs, and more than 3,000 involved heroin. Frighteningly, other data show that opiate use among young people is increasing.
These numbers are staggering. Here’s what makes them heartbreaking: every overdose death is preventable. Two years ago, we released a comprehensive plan to address our nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. This plan supports prescription drug monitoring programs, convenient and environmentally responsible drug disposal methods, education for patients and prescribers, and law enforcement efforts to decrease diversion of prescription drugs.
In honor of International Overdose Awareness Day, this Saturday, August 31, we are joining other federal partners to announce the release of the Opioid Overdose Toolkit. The Toolkit, developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, provides information on overdose prevention, treatment and recovery for first responders, prescribers, and patients. Read More…
by Conrad Wilson, Minnesota Public Radio
August 8, 2013
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — A coalition of doctors and public health advocates wants Minnesota to join a growing number of states that have laws aimed at saving the lives of drug abusers.
State Sen. Chris Eaton plans to introduce a bill in the next legislative session that would provide legal immunity for those who call 911 to seek help for someone suffering an overdose. It would also increase access to a drug that revives those who overdose on opiate-based drugs, like heroin. Read More…
By ED VOGEL
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL CAPITAL BUREAU
The statistics are shocking: Seventy percent of illegal-injection drug users will contract hepatitis C from the use of dirty needles. About 10 percent will acquire HIV.
The lifetime cost of caring for a hepatitis patient is $500,000, and HIV lifetime health care costs are a minimum of $355,000.
Thirty percent of police who deal with addicts eventually will stick themselves with needles when they frisk injection-drug users. Nearly a fourth of officers suffer two or more needle sticks. Read More