Heroin use and deaths up in WA, especially in youth

Heroin use and deaths up in WA, especially in youth

Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Heroin use and deaths up in WA, especially in youth




Posted on June 12, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 12 at 3:31 PM

SEATTLE -- Heroin use and related deaths have increased significantly across Washington over the past decade. A new study released Wednesday say the increase is especially noticeable among people younger than 30.

Young people are finding it cheaper and easier to get heroin than prescription opiates, and both kinds of drugs offer a similar high and danger of addiction.

That's according to Caleb Banta-Green, author of the report and a researcher at the University of Washington's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.

The largest increases in heroin use and abuse in Washington state were outside of metropolitan areas, where drug treatment and awareness are lowest.

Overdose deaths from heroin or related prescription drugs more than doubled in Cowlitz, Snohomish, Grays Harbor, Chelan, Lewis, Mason, Thurston, Benton and Kitsap counties between 2000 and 2011.

The opioid related deaths by residence county, including overdoses of heroin and related prescription drugs are on this chart. Eastern Washington counties were highlighted:

County              2000-2002  deaths         2009-2011  deaths

Pend  Oreille                   1                                6
Spokane                         91                            155
Asotin                             4                                6
Stevens                            8                              10
Okanogan                       10                              14
Douglas                           8                              10
Grant                              12                              22
Whitman                          0                                6
Benton                             8                              32
Yakima                           24                              43
Walla  Walla                    5                                5
Franklin                           1                                6
Adams                             1                                2
Columbia                         1                                1
Ferry                               0                                1
Garfield                           0                                0
Lincoln                            2                                2