MONROE (WWJ) – Grim new statistics have been released on the heroin problem plaguing the nation.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that the number of people who have used the drug has grown by nearly 300,000 over the past decade.READ MORE: Detroit Offers Walk-In Vaccinations At Locations, Appointments Still Encouraged
According to the CDC, heroin use more than doubled among young adults ages 18 to 25 in the past decade and more than nine in 10 people who used heroin also used at least one other drug.
Those dealing with the issue on a local level aren’t surprised by any of those stats, including Executive Director April Demers of the Monroe County Substance Abuse Coalition.
In Monroe County this year, she says, they’re on paces to see the most overdoses in recent years.
“We’re already over 30 and we’re halfway through the year,” Demers told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Sandra McNeill. “So, we’re really starting to see the ramifications of heroin use.”
Demers the drug has been enticing younger and younger users, and more women and girls than in years past.READ MORE: Drive To Repeal Law Gov. Whitmer Used In Pandemic Clears Hurdle
“We’re seeing heroin being used by younger and younger individuals in our community. We know that in the United States the number one new heroin user is a 20-year-old female, and that’s frightening,” Demers said, “because that’s not what we think when we think of heroin. It’s kind of an extreme illicit drug.”
“I will tell you that this year in Monroe County recently we had a 14-year-old overdose on heroin — a 14-year-old,” she added.
That young girl did survive.
Demers said the solution to getting the state’s heroin problem under control must include doctors.
The spike in use of the drug has been attributed to a high use of painkillers, as users look to heroin as a cheaper way to get a fix — with the CDC reporting 45 percent of people who used heroin were also addicted to prescription opioid painkillers.
Demers is among those pushing for doctors to use a system that documents every prescription that’s written in Michigan to help identify those people who may be shopping around for drugs.MORE NEWS: Chief Craig: Police Shooting Suspect Was Grieving, Possibly Intoxicated
[More on the report by the CDC, HERE].