prominent news for a while, but the lesser publicized concomitant is the rise or perhaps better described as a relapse into heroin use. Part of the reason for increases in heroin use is the drug's cheaper price than opiate prescriptions which users can substitute for opiate drugs since they are similar in chemical composition and effect. The profile of an 'Merican hooked on heron has change completely in the last fifty years. Horse was once the drug of choice by poor, young black men. Now, 90% of heroin users are white, and more than half women. Eighteen to twenty-five-years-old is still the dominant age category of heroin users.
The drug's infiltration into suburbia is frightening: over the past six years the number of annual users has almost doubled from 370,000 to 680,000 in 2013. Compare this statistic with the drop of heroin use in Europe where the number has fallen by a third in the past decade. Heroin abuse now exceeds the abuse of crack cocaine, the big high of the 80's and 90's. Its clear that over prescription of opioid pain relievers is contributing to the problem. Many heroin users follow the path of prescription drug abuse into heroin addiction. Unable to support their habit on pills that cost $80 each on the black market, abusers turn to cheaper street heroin. Last year eleven million 'Mericans used black market painkillers, more than the number who used cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, and methamphetamine combined. This chart shows the obvious correlation: