Heroin Overdose Data

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The use of heroin has been increasing in recent years among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels. Some of the greatest increases have occurred in demographic groups with historically low rates of heroin use: women, the privately insured, and people with higher incomes.1 In 2016, nearly 948,000 people in the United States (12-years old or older) reported using heroin in the past year, which is an estimated rate of 0.4 per 100 persons.  And in 2015, 81,326 emergency department visits occurred for unintentional, heroin-related poisonings in America, which is an estimated rate of almost 26 per 100,000 people.2


Past misuse of prescription opioids is the strongest risk factor for starting heroin use, especially among people who became dependent upon or abused prescription opioids in the past year. This indicates that widespread opioid exposure and increasing rates of opioid addiction have played a major role in the growth of heroin use.

  • In 2013, more than nine in 10 people who used heroin also used at least one other drug. 1
  • Among new heroin users during 2000 to 2013, approximately three out of four report having misused prescription opioids prior to using heroin.3


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