Data tables indicate that large metropolitan areas experience higher rates of heroin use and opioid overdose deaths due to the large concentration of people in these areas.
In 2019, there were 5,467 opioid overdose deaths in densely populated urban areas. In lighter metropolitan locations, also known as ‘non-core’ demographics, the number of deaths was only 388.
Using these vital statistics, you can see that the higher the population density of any given area, the higher the incidence of overdose, due to the increased availability of illicit drugs.
How Many People Experience A Heroin Overdose Each Year?
Over 14,000 people die by heroin overdose in the United States each year, which is a monumental increase from the late 1990s, when annual overdose numbers did not exceed 3,000.
Many people use opioid prescription drugs—which are pain relievers—before turning to heroin use when their prescription runs out.
This is because heroin is less expensive, easy to obtain on the street, and provides similar effects to prescription opioids and other depressant prescriptions, such as benzodiazepines.
Non-Fatal Heroin Overdose
It is possible to have a non-fatal overdose, but the person overdosing must receive swift care in order to avoid dangerous effects.
Most people who suffer a drug overdose caused by heroin substance use are given Narcan, also known as naloxone, a synthetic narcotic given to resuscitate people from opioid overdose.
In 2017, a study was conducted to determine the percentage of non-fatal overdoses from heroin and fentanyl, another synthetic opioid substance.
This data source found that approximately 62.5% of recorded heroin overdoses were non-fatal, but this does not discount the dangers and potential fatalities of opioid use disorder.
Preventing Heroin Overdose Deaths In The United States
Heroin overdose deaths are prevalent in the United States, but they are preventable.
One treatment for heroin detox, or the process of ridding the body of heroin, as well as addiction treatment, is medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
This process uses methadone, buprenorphine (Suboxone), and naltrexone (Vivitrol) medications to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and aid people in seeking long-term heroin recovery.
Opioid Overdose Vs. Other Types Of Drug Overdose Deaths
Opioid substances, such as heroin, are not the only types of drugs that can cause overdose.
Prescription medications, cocaine, and painkillers such as oxycodone also bring many of the same overdose risks.
A 2021 public health examination of overall drug overdose deaths found that non-opiate drug use contributed as much as 29% of the overall recorded overdose deaths in the US.
Factors That May Affect Overdose Deaths
There are several risk factors that contribute to a higher chance of heroin-induced opioid death.
Some of these include:
- using heroin by injection
- resuming opioid use after a period of abstinence
- using prescription opioids without medical guidance
What Can Be Done To Decrease The Overdose Death Rate?
There are several overdose prevention methods currently employed by healthcare providers to prevent the ever-increasing opioid crisis.
Some of these methods include:
Find Treatment For A Heroin Use Disorder At Bedrock
At Bedrock Recovery Center, we offer comprehensive treatment for heroin use, including medication-assisted treatment for heroin addiction and both inpatient and outpatient treatment plans.
Our Canton, Massachusetts residential treatment center provides the professional treatment you need around-the-clock to make heroin recovery a reality.
If you or a loved one are seeking treatment for heroin drug abuse, give our helpline a call today.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhcs/ED_Substance_Abuse_Factsheet.PDF
- Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html
- National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/deaths/heroin/index.html