Heroin addiction and overdose deaths on the rise in Michigan

Jun 10, 2014

Heroin abuse in Michigan is on the rise. Felix Sharpe of Michigan's Bureau of Substance Abuse and Addiction Services says that 680 people died from heroin overdoses in Michigan last year.
Credit United Nations Photo

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that heroin use in the U.S. jumped 79% from 2007 through 2012. And heroin overdose deaths rose 45% between 2006 and 2010.

Police and public health officials say Michigan is on the same track, with heroin addiction and overdose deaths on the rise.

Special Agent Rich Isaacson is with the Detroit division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Isaacson says the increase in heroin use and overdose deaths is directly related to the rapid increase in the misuse of opiate drugs, such as OxyContin and Vicodin. Isaacson says these prescriptions can get very expensive, which can result in addicts turning to heroin, which is also an opiate drug, for a much cheaper price.

Isaacson says prevention and education are very important to reduce the addiction and overdose rates. He adds that strict oversight on how the drugs are obtained and educating doctors about addiction could help as well.

*Listen to the full interview above.