- Associated Press - Saturday, April 5, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Some states, including Oregon, are reporting a rise in heroin use as many addicts shift from more costly and harder-to-get prescription opiates to this cheaper alternative. A look at what’s happening in Oregon:


In the early 2000s, Oregon’s problems with heroin use were well-documented. Heroin overdoses in the Portland, Ore., area accounted for nearly as many deaths among young and middle-aged men as cancer or heart disease in 2000. When residents began to turn to prescription pills, heroin deaths dropped. But for those seeking treatment, the percent of heroin users is back up to levels not seen since the 1990s. And the population getting treated is younger than it’s ever been.


In 2011, 10.4 percent of people receiving treatment for substance abuse in the state were heroin users, according to the Oregon Health Authority. In 2012, that number grew to 11.8 percent, and in 2013, it was 13.4 percent, or 7,607 people

The ages of those seeking treatment for heroin addiction changed, too. In the 1990s, people ages 12-24 comprised a tiny percentage of those seeking treatment for heroin.

By 2012, that age group was 10 percent of the heroin-treatment population. Last year, 11.6 percent of all heroin addicts seeking treatment in Oregon were younger than 25.

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