Some Experts Wonder Over Validity of Heroin ‘Epidemic’


Across the U.S., officials are sounding an alarm on heroin use. But wonders whether the “epidemic” is real. Many insist the problem is a serious threat. Other experts question whether there's been an explosion in the number of heroin users, or if something else is at play: a new demographic of users who are white, suburban or rural, middle-class and largely female.

“We have a syndrome in this country; when you have a young white woman at risk, it makes national headlines,” said Roseanne Scotti, state director of the New Jersey Drug Policy Alliance. “But for more than 20 years, it hasn't been an issue. People died of overdoses all the time. It never got any news coverage, none at all.” Some say the “new face of heroin” has led to unwarranted hype. “It's a return of 'white women in peril,' ” a phenomenon that goes back to the opium scares of the late 19th century, said Jeffrey Miron, an economist who specializes in the economies of illegal drugs.

Editor’s Note: To check out “Smack Madness,” The Crime Report’s in-depth analysis of the heroin hype, Click HERE.

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