A recently released Drug Enforcement Administration reportreveals not only that heroin use has exploded, but that 4 out of 5 new users have previously abused prescription drugs.
The details of the analysis, titled the “National Heroin Threat Assessment,” unwittingly demonstrate that the Drug War has failed to curb drug use and has actually exacerbated the problem. The report opens with an overview of heroin addiction:
The threat posed by heroin in the United States is serious and has increased since 2007. Heroin is available in larger quantities, used by a larger number of people, and is causing an increasing number of overdose deaths.
The report acknowledges more specific data about heroin use. It explains that the strength of the drug has skyrocketed since the 1980s, increasing from 10% purity in 1981 to 40% in 1999. Due to this purity, the drug has become easier to snort and smoke, which broadens its appeal. Alternatively, the reformulation of Oxycontin in 2010 made the prescription opiate harder to inject, leading some pill addicts to turn to heroin for a drug they could use intravenously.