Report shows increased use of prescription drugs, heroinAddiction treatment programs and emergency rooms in the Twin Cities report increased non-medical use of prescription narcotics and heroin, according to the recently released Drug Abuse Trends report.
Addiction treatment programs and emergency rooms in the Twin Cities report increased non-medical use of prescription narcotics and heroin, according to the recently released Drug Abuse Trends report.
A record-high 1,187 patients in 2008 reported opiates other than heroin (mostly prescription narcotic analgesics or painkillers that are taken orally) as the primary substance problem at addiction treatment programs, almost a three-fold increase since 2002. Twin Cities hospital emergency room visits involving the non-medical use of narcotic analgesics increased 67.8 percent from 2005 to 2007.
“Here and nationally the abuse of prescription drugs is a problem of growing magnitude and concern,” said Carol Falkowski, director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division, Minnesota Department of Human Services, and author of the drug trends report. “The public needs to know that the use of heroin and other strong narcotics taken non-medically, even in pill form, are dangerous practices that are not only addicting, but can be fatal.”
Minneapolis had the highest purity level of Mexican heroin of any city reporting into the Heroin Domestic Monitor Program of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and was among the cities with the lowest prices per milligram. Combining Hennepin and Ramsey counties, there were 115 opiate-related deaths in 2008, compared with 31 for cocaine and 14 for methamphetamines.
“This very high-purity, low-cost heroin helps fuel the growing heroin problem in the metro area and across the state,” said Falkowski.
Heroin-involved visits to Twin Cities hospital emergency departments increased 65.3 percent from 2005 to 2007. Males arrested in Hennepin County who tested positive for opiates (heroin and prescription opiates combined) increased from 5.3 percent in 2007 to 7.2 percent in 2008.
Methamphetamine (meth) abuse and addiction showed continuous signs of decline in 2008, after rising indicators from 2000 through 2005, accounting for only 6 percent of admissions to Twin Cities area addiction treatment programs, compared with 12 percent in 2005. Methamphetamine use among high school students and arrestees, and at hospital emergency departments declined as well.
Concerning other drugs, the report found:
•For the first time in recent history, treatment admissions for heroin and other opiates combined surpassed the number of admissions for cocaine.
•Marijuana continued to account for more admissions to addiction treatment programs than any other illicit drug, with 3,199 admissions that represent 16.6 percent of total admissions in 2008.
•Hospital emergency department visits related to MDMA, or “Ecstasy” grew from 204 in 2004 to 433 on 2008.
The Drug Abuse Trends report was prepared as part of an epidemiological drug abuse-monitoring network comprised of researchers in 20 U.S. cities convened by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Falkowski has written a report on Twin Cities drug abuse trends twice annually since 1986.
The full report is available online at: http://www.dhs.state.mn.us/dhs16_145124.pdf