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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Heroin Use On the Rise in SoCal

Fortunately, OxyContin abuse has decreased now that the painkiller has been reformulated to make it more difficult to misuse, according to a study published last year. In 2010, makers of OxyContin introduced a new version of the drug that is much more difficult to inhale or inject. However, the reformulation has caused a number of people, including teens and young adults in southern California, to start using heroin, according to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials.

“Heroin use has become a particular concern for the DEA because we’re seeing people using heroin at such a young age,” Agent Sarah Pullen told NBC Los Angeles. Counselors at high schools in Orange County are reporting a rise in heroin use, the article notes.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported initiations to heroin have increased by 80 percent among teens ages 12 to 17. The increase in heroin use is largely attributed to the drug’s low cost and easy availability in southern California due to its proximity to Mexico.

More than 2,500 people who were dependent on opioids took part in the study; participants were followed between July 2009 and March 2012. In that time frame there was a 17 percent decrease in OxyContin abuse.

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