While Colorado may not be the hardest hit area of the U.S. when it comes to heroin overdoses, that doesn’t mean that the state’s problem isn’t serious. New numbers recently released by state officials show that it’s been getting considerably worse. An estimated 200 individuals died in 2016 from heroin overdoses, up from a confirmed 160 deaths in 2015. In comparison, 2011 saw only 79 heroin-related deaths in the state.
70% of Colorado Heroin Users Surveyed Said Prescription Painkillers Contributed to Their Heroin Addiction
Much like the heroin abuse problems in many other areas of the U.S., Colorado’s emerging heroin crisis is partially the result of the state’s pre-existing prescription painkiller problem. Factors such as doctor over-prescribing, a lack of patient education, and a lack of economic opportunities for residents are likely among several of the elements that are contributing to the state’s incredibly high rates of painkiller abuse.
In 2014, Colorado state officials announced that approximately 250,000 individuals in the state abuse prescription painkillers each year, making it second in the country for prescription drug abuse. In a recent survey, 70% of heroin users polled said that they started using doctor-prescribed painkillers and only later ‘graduated’ to heroin abuse. These statistics indicate that Colorado’s heroin problem is likely to get much worse in the coming years, as more prescription painkiller addiction sufferers turn to cheaper heroin to feed their addictions.
- Law enforcement agencies in Colorado seized nearly 270 lbs of heroin in 2016, upwards from 16 lbs captured in 2011
- First responders in Colorado used Naloxone (Narcan) nearly 3,400x in 2015, compared to less than 1000x in 2011, an approximate 340% increase
- In 2015, nearly 7,000 individuals in Colorado were in treatment for heroin addiction, compared to less than 3,000 in 2015, an approximate 220% increase
- 61% of Colorado heroin users surveyed said they had experienced an overdose on the drug, and the median number of overdose experiences was 3
While Colorado’s heroin use rates seem to be increasing across the board, it may be positive that more heroin addicts are seeking treatment. However, it’s not clear if a greater percentage of heroin users in Colorado are getting treatment, or simply a larger amount due to the overall increase in users.
If you’re addicted to heroin or other opiates, now is the time to get the help you need. You shouldn’t be ashamed to get treatment. Most people never wanted to become addicted to heroin; instead, heroin addiction is often the result of a long struggle with a variety of other substances, including alcohol and prescription medication, as well as a struggle with untreated co-current mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder. Fortunately, getting dual diagnosis treatment for both addiction and a mental health issue can give a patient a better shot at sustainable, long-term sobriety.
Conquering heroin addiction is a serious challenge for anyone, and patients shouldn’t have to do it alone. If you’re addicted to heroin, take the first step to change your life by calling Get Treatment today. We can help you find an heroin addiction treatment program.
At Get Treatment, our network of professionally accredited, state-of-the-art heroin addiction treatment centers can help patients begin a rehabilitation program that best meets their individual needs. And, if you’re suffering from heroin addiction in Colorado, check out our listings for Colorado Addiction Treatment Centers.