Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of definite varieties of poppy plants.
Even though purer heroin is becoming more extensive and widespread, major street heroin is “cut” with other drugs or with mixtures such as powdered milk, starch, quinine, or sugar.
Heroin as well poses particular problems because of the spread of HIV and other diseases that can happen from sharing needles or other injection utensils.
Using US Research Data to Better Understand Heroin
According to the Monitoring the Future survey, National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) yearly survey of drug use among the nation’s 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, heroin use remained stable from 2003 to 2004.
According to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which may in fact undervalue illegal opiate (heroin) use, a likely 3.7 million population had used heroin at some time in their lives, and above 119,000 of them are said using it within the month prior to the survey.
A probable 314,000 Americans used heroin in the past year; the group that represented the maximum number of people of those heroin users were 26 years of age or older.
The survey reported that, from 1995 through 2002, the yearly number of new heroin users ranged from 121,000 to 164,000. At this period, nearly all new users were age 18 and older, the majority of which were male.
The 57.4% users of heroin during the previous year in 2003 were classified with reliance on or abuse of heroin, while an estimate of 281,000 people received treatment for heroin abuse.
These studies support claims on how heroin use has become one of the major drug problems in the US, and this data may be very useful in understanding how Heroin use may be impacting Canadians now, and in the future.