Denver heroin overdose recovery centers are always combating the use of illegal substances such as heroin. Heroin overdose rates are skyrocketing in the United States, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention referring to the massive increase in heroin abuse and heroin overdose rates in the last few years as an "epidemic." Numbers are increasing across age groups and genders, and in people from all income groups, but the biggest increases in heroin overdose rates have been in those previously least likely to be affected, which are women, people with private health insurance, and high income earners.
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The latest Vital Signs report from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that people with a prescription opioid use disorder have a 40 times greater risk of developing a heroin addiction than others. This is likely related to cost, with an illegally sold prescription opioid pill costing around seven times the price of a bag of heroin.
Almost all heroin abusers (96 percent) use at least one other drug, and over 60 percent use at least three other drugs. Another risk factor identified in the report is the increased availability of heroin in recent years. The people most at risk of heroin addiction include those aged 18-25, males, non-Hispanic whites, and those on incomes of less than $20,000, but the gaps between these groups and others are narrowing.
Heroin is an addictive drug because it affects key areas of the brain. Heroin (and other opioid drugs) affect receptors associated with the perceptions of pain and reward, which means that when users take the drug they feel a sense of euphoria (a "rush") and have no sensation of pain. They experience pleasure, which their brain records and remembers. When the brain is repeatedly exposed to heroin the receptor cells adapt to the presence of the drug and more heroin is needed to produce the rush. People often also develop an addiction to heroin because they have associated mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, and the drug can dull the pain of these conditions.