Heroin use is skyrocketing in this country, reaching epidemic levels. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports heroin use increased by 63 percent between 2002 and 2013 and heroin-related overdose deaths have quadrupled over the same time period.
And the addicts aren’t who you think they are. Heroin use has spread to every demographic in our society, with some of the highest growth rates among women, the upper middle-class and those over 50.
The CDC says addiction to prescription painkillers is fueling most of the rise in heroin use — people who are addicted to pills are switching to heroin because it’s cheaper, doesn’t require a prescription and offers a similar high. Statistics now show that those who are addicted to prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to be addicted to heroin.
What can be done?
Martin Klapheke, M.D., is a psychiatrist and the assistant dean for medical education at the UCF College of Medicine and he explains how this has become such an alarming problem for patients across the country. Find out why he thinks we’re all vulnerable to this risk.
He also describes the growing field of options, including non-pharmacologic interventions like physical therapy, that are being used to treat chronic pain and hopefully cut down on this epidemic.
As someone who is educating tomorrow’s doctors today, Dr. Klapheke explains how they are training future physicians to focus on different treatments and be alert to any signs of addiction.