Emergency room visits related to heroin have increased 10% - 15% over the last five years.
Former addicts showed a strong preference for heroin and morphine when compared to the opioids hydromorphone, fentanyl, oxycodone, and pethidine/meperidine. This suggests that heroin and morphine are particularly susceptible to abuse and addiction.
Here in the United States, individuals over the age of 30 continue to make up the majority of heroin addicts. However, the fast growing heroin demographic is among young people age 17-21.
Heroin abuse has many serious long-term health effects. Addicts often experience problems with their heart, lungs, kidneys and liver can all result from prolonged heroin use. Additionally, many heroin addicts have collapsed veins, due to repeated injections; after they have rendered the veins in the arms useless, they move to the legs. Other problems arising from the culture of needle use as it relates to heroin include the spread of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.