Heroin is a resurgent problem in most big cities. Researchers say a new epidemic is worse in Chicago than in most of the U.S., with suburban teenagers increasingly among users, reports the Chicago Tribune. Researchers at Roosevelt University found that demographics have been changing in the Chicago area, where a higher proportion of people end up in emergency rooms from heroin use than in any other metropolitan area.
In 2002 the Chicago area recorded 12,982 heroin-related emergency room visits, the most in the nation for the fifth consecutive year. That year 220 people per 100,000 population in the city and suburbs were hospitalized with heroin problems. Only Baltimore and Newark, N.J., also had rates over 200 per 100,000. The rise of heroin use, and the changing demographics of users, are expanding the risk of HIV infection and hepatitis C for younger people, the Roosevelt report says.