Report: Number of US Heroin Users Rose 300,000 Over a Decade

drugsNEW YORK (AP) — Health officials say the number of U.S. heroin user has grown by about 300,000 over a decade. Most of the increase was in whites, across income levels.

Experts think the increase was driven by people switching from opioid painkillers to cheaper heroin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the report Tuesday. It’s based on annual face-to-face surveys of about 67,000 Americans — the government’s main source of data on use of illegal drugs.

Governor Charlie Baker released the recommendations of his own 18-person task force on substance abuse last month.

The group, which included Gosnold of Cape Cod Ceo Ray Tamasi, said drug addiction must be considered a medical disease and the report focused on prevention, education, intervention, treatment and recovery.

Saying Massachusetts was in the midst of an “epidemic,” Baker’s report said more than 6,600 people have died from heroin and other opioid-related overdoses inMassachusetts in the past decade.

“It’s not a question of personal morality,” Tamasi said in June.

In recent surveys, nearly 3 in every 1,000 Americans said they used heroin in the previous year. That’s up from under 2 per 1,000 about a decade ago.

The researchers in the federal study found that people who abused opioid painkillers were 40 times more likely to abuse heroin.

Listen to what Barnstable County Sheriff James M. Cummings has to say on this topic:
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