Opioid Epidemic Will Take Years to Resolve, Experts Warn
The opioid epidemic took almost two decades to develop and it will take years to resolve, experts warn in a new report.
The wait for federally funded rehab is increasing as the number of people addicted to heroin grows, NBC News reports.
The wait can be as long as 18 months in Maine. People in Florida are waiting an average of one month for addiction treatment. A study published in 2012 in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse found only 11 percent of people with substance use disorders received help from treatment centers, the article notes.
Heroin abuse is rising across the United States, according to a government report released in July. The report found the strongest risk factor for a heroin use disorder is a prescription opioid use disorder. People addicted to opioid painkillers are 40 times more likely to abuse or be dependent on heroin.
The largest increase in heroin use is among women and white (non-Hispanic) Americans. Young adults and those with household incomes below $20,000 are most likely to use heroin. Most people who use heroin abuse multiple other substances, including opioid pain relievers and cocaine, the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found.
More than half a million Americans used heroin in 2013, nearly a 150 percent increase since 2007. Heroin-involved overdose deaths almost doubled from 2011 to 2013. More than 8,200 people died from heroin overdoses that year.
In August, the Director of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli, announced the federal government will provide $13.4 million in funding for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas. Of that, $5 million will be directed to efforts to reduce the trafficking, distribution and use of heroin.
Half of the $5 million will fund the Heroin Response Strategy, a partnership between five regional programs in Appalachia, New England, Philadelphia/Camden, New York/New Jersey, and Washington/Baltimore, to address the severe heroin threat facing those communities.