WA Heroin Use Up As Painkillers Popularize Opiates


A long-time heroin user in Kitsap County, Wa., has never seen it so cheap and easily available, reports the Kitsap Sun. “It's the preferred high right now,” the woman said. The number of needles exchanged through a health department program has skyrocketed from 282,039 in 2008 to 682,462 last year.

Heroin use, upstaged by meth and prescription drugs in the last decade, is experiencing a resurgence around the U.S. While an undercurrent of users has maintained demand for the drug, it appears that the availability of painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin — heroin's prescription cousins — have increased society's exposure to the highly addictive opiate family of drugs. Monte Levine, who runs a sanctioned needle exchange, sees more diversity in his clients. A man in overalls who looked to Levine like a logger recently dropped off his used needles. Levine has seen food service workers, lawyers — even doctors. “These are not what people think of addicts,” he said.

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