Epidemic: Heroin Use Skyrocketing In The U.S., CDC Says

Jose Florez

Shocking new data by the CDC reveals heroin use in the U.S. is skyrocketing.

Heroin use in the U.S. -- for both men and women -- has soared in the last 11 years, CDC officials said on Tuesday. The new data, accumulated between 2002 and 2013, unveiled a shocking 63 percent increase in heroin use in the U.S.

Additionally, the report also touched on the subject of groups who were once characterized as "less likely to abuse heroin," and concluded that these groups are now dangerously abusing the drug at a startling rate.

According to TIME, in 2013 -- following a CDC investigation -- health officials estimated that around 570,000 people have used heroin in the past year alone -- a 150 percent increase from 2007.

In addition, CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report surveys confirmed a death toll of about 8,200 people from heroin-related overdoses in 2013.

Although heroin use is typically seen in young adults with an income below $20,000, CDC researchers believe that, in recent years, nearly every demographic group has abused heroin -- including women and whites.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Reuters that medication such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin, can increase vulnerability to heroin dependence.

During a conference on Tuesday, Frieden addressed how heroin addiction can arise.

"More people are primed for heroin addiction because they are addicted to prescription opiates, which are, after all, essentially the same chemical with the same impact on the brain."

As the Inquisitr reported back in January, car accidents caused by heroin addicts is a depreciate problem in the U.S.

One Friday in the city of Cincinnati, police were called to the scene of not one, not two, but four separate heroin-related car accidents. In fact, in Cincinnati, accidents caused by heroin addicts are so persistent that local media have reported the frequency of car accidents as a "daily occurrence".

Media reports say heroin addicts are "shooting up" while driving.

The string of accidents caused one heroin addict to pass out from an overdose and crash into a church. Meanwhile, another addict tried multi-tasking and lost control of his vehicle, flipping it over.

So, why do heroin users choose to abuse this drug?

Well, heroin users say that "shooting up" gives them the fortuity to escape from reality. Not to forget the rush feeling that users experience after seeking a "thrill" from the highly addictive drug.

Heroin, also known as "smack," "diacetylmorphine," or simply "diamorphine," has severe withdrawal symptoms for chronic heroin users who attempt to put a stop to their addiction. Heroin withdrawal or "cold turkey" can range from acute to chronic. Symptoms include anxiety, severe muscle aches, sweating, depression, insomnia, erectile dysfunction and even akathisia.

[Photo via Spencer Platt/Getty Images]