Michigan Reports Heroin Use Surge; A Quick, Easy High


Michigan is reporting a surge in heroin use, says the Detroit News. The number of people seeking treatment in state-sponsored programs has nearly doubled since 2003. The number of uninsured people treated for heroin at Genesee County Community Mental Health ages 18-29 increased sixfold to 28 percent since 2003. The state-funded agency for substance abuse services refers uninsured, underinsured and Medicaid recipients to facilities and programs for treatment. “It’s a pretty huge increase,” said Kristie Schmiege, director of substance abuse services for the agency.

It may come down to economics: It’s a quick, easy high at $10-$20 a hit. A boy, 19, died from a heroin overdose recently; a boy, 22, died after taking Opana, a drug similar to morphine. The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health said that 180,000 people used heroin for the first time in the previous year — “significantly more” than the average annual number reported from 2002-08. The spike is due partly to higher opiate production in places like Afghanistan and Mexico, Schmiege said. “It’s very available.”

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