CDC Says College Students Most Likely to Become Addicted to Heroin

heroin addictionHeroin addiction in the U.S. continues to climb. Men, non-Hispanic whites, and people aged 18 to 25 are among the country’s most susceptible demographics.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, college-age students aren’t shying away from drugs. More college students engage in heavy alcohol use than their non-collegiate peers. Marijuana and cocaine use were also an area of concern noted in NIDA’s 2015 survey.

But it isn’t just binge-drinking and smoking that put college students at risk for substance abuse and addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heroin use has increased in most demographic groups in recent years. Experts observed a 109% increase in heroin use between 2002 and 2013 among college-age young adults alone — it more than doubled in only a decade.

Heroin isn’t the only drug college students commonly abuse — alcohol and marijuana top that list. However, the CDC warns using heroin along with other drugs and alcohol can increase a person’s overdose risk. Over 12,000 people lost their lives to a heroin overdose in 2015 — many of them young adults.

One of the best ways to help prevent heroin addiction and overdose, urges the CDC, is to discourage at-risk populations — such as college students — from trying them at all.

Parents should openly discuss college-specific temptations with their children before dropping them off on campus this month. Incoming freshmen should be aware of the long-term consequences of excessive alcohol and drug use. More importantly, they should be made to feel comfortable asking questions and speaking honestly about any temptations and struggles they may face in the coming year.

If your child does come to you later on about their struggles with substance abuse, the best thing you can do is show them love and support. Finding a treatment program to help them cope and get back on track can seem overwhelming. But the sooner they confront their demons, the better chance they have at leading a long, healthy, and successful life.

Did you know an addiction can be caused by a mental disorder?

One of the primary reasons that mental disorders and substance abuse so often go hand-in-hand is that drugs and alcohol can provide an escape from the pressures of mental health problems. Self-medicating is surprisingly common: you’re not alone.

But unlike real, effective, long-term solutions, such as medication and detoxification in a treatment center, drugs and alcohol won’t amount to effective treatment.

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