Breaking down overdose in adults and adolescents

By Daniela Wainfor

Heroin overdoses and drug busts have quickly maneuvered their way into local news story headlines as heroin addiction increases and poses a threat to the well being of the country.

It’s been dubbed “the heroin epidemic” by police and doctors, and is becoming more of an issue as seen in the increase of heroin related overdoses, hospital visits, and deaths among adolescents and adults.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in Ohio, the number of heroin deaths increased approximately 300 percent from 2007 to 2012.

The use of heroin continues to alarmingly increase in both adults and young adults, and with that, so has the amount of needed treatment for it. The result of this, is a rise in needed programs and encouragement for young kids to prevent the use of drugs.

Past month/year use of heroin in ages 12+

Increasing national trend of  heroin use in ages 12+ from 2002 to 2013

*Graph: Results from 2013 NSDUH/ Summary of national findings, SAMHSA, CBHSQ

This graph shows the past month in comparison to the past year use of heroin in 12 year olds and up from 2002-2013.

The past year use of heroin in this age group has risen exponentially from 2007 to 2013 as the number of adolescents using it went up by roughly 308,000 in those 6 years, and continues to alarmingly increase.

Do you think it’s relatively easy for UAHS students to purchase heroin?



Do you personally know someone who has ever used heroin?

Survey conducted by Daniela Wainfor

*Numbers are based on a total of 422 students who responded to this survey

A survey of 6 questions was conducted to generate results about UAHS student’s thoughts on the availability or heroin. Out of 422 responses, 31.8 percent of students said they think it’s relatively easy for UA students to purchase heroin, a surprising 14.5 percent said no, and the rest said they weren’t sure. 24.2 percent said they personally knew someone who has ever used heroin and 75.8 percent said they didn’t.

Number of students who have seen/heard drug or alcohol prevention messages in school 

Number of student’s who have seen/heard drug or alcohol prevention messages outside of school of 

*Data from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health 

These estimates are from teens aged 12 to 17 who were enrolled in school in the past year. These also include the youths that were homeschooled.

Data from the 2013 national survey on drug use and health uncovers that the exposure to prevention messages in and out of school is decreasing as we see in the two graphs above. 78.8 percent of youths reported hearing or seeing drug or alcohol prevention messages in school in 2002, while in 2013 it was 72.6 percent. The rate of kids and teens seeing or hearing drug or alcohol prevention messages outside of school in 2002 was 83.2 percent, while more recently in 2013 the rate was 73.5 percent.


Members of Congress held a news congress after the Senate approved legislation reinforcing efforts against heroin and the abuse of opioids. Image Courtesy of J.Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

U.S. senator Rob Portman


As we’ve seen previously, the rates of heroin use in adults and young adults is continuing to increase over the years, but doctors, police, and legislators are introducing new tactics and legislations in hopes to bring down those rates.

Rob Portman proposed the anti-heroin bill, which was passed by the senate by an overwhelming ‘yes’ vote in 2016.

Programs like D.AR.E. have also been put into action, this program isn’t new, but like many programs, this one has changed some policies and strategies upon how they teach young children in hopes that it will be more effective. 


The D.A.R.E program which is now internationally recognized, was actually started in 1983 by the LAPD. D.A.R.E. provides students from Kindergarten through high school with the skills necessary to recognize and resist pressures to experiment with drugs and to avoid gangs and violence. Lessons emphasize self-esteem, decision making, interpersonal communications skills, the consequences of drug abuse, conflict resolution and positive alternatives to substance abuse.


What grade would you give the D.A.R.E. program in its mission to teach students “good decision-making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives”?

Survey conducted by Daniela Wainfor

This bar chart shows the results for one of the survey questions “what grade would you give the D.A.R.E. program in its mission to teach students “good decision-making skills in order to live safe and healthy lives?””

The average grade would be close to a B or C with 147 out of 422 students giving it a B and 136 out of 422 giving it a C. The lowest grade was an F and the amount of students who gave it this grade was 42 out of 422.


The Options and Obstacles to Treating Heroin Addiction by Priyanka Boghani

”Five years ago, 6 percent of the people who entered the Staten Island YMCA’s substance abuse treatment program were addicted to heroin. Today, it’s 30 percent” (Priyanka Boghani, The Options and Obstacles to Treating Heroin Addiction)

The number of people who received treatment for heroin increased from 277,000 persons in 2002 to 526,000 persons in 2013.

The addiction to heroin in adults and adolescents is still apparent today and continues to pose a concern in society. Even though rates for the heroin epidemic have greatly increased over the years, legislation like Rob Portman’s anti-heroin bill and the D.A.R.E program are attempting to impede these rates. The results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed the comparison in the use of heroin specifically in the ages of 12 and up, and the CDC analysis on the increase in heroin overdoses concluded that the rates of heroin overdose deaths increased nationally by <50 precent from 1999 to 2010. Anti-drug advocators aspire to keep making policies and programs that will inform and educate adults and adolescents on the dangers of heroin abuse.