- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 7, 2015

NEW YORK — Health officials say the number of U.S. heroin user has grown by about 300,000 over a decade. Most of the increase was in whites, across income levels.

Experts think the increase was driven by people switching from opioid painkillers to cheaper heroin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the report Tuesday. It’s based on annual face-to-face surveys of about 67,000 Americans — the government’s main source of data on use of illegal drugs.

In recent surveys, nearly 3 in every 1,000 Americans said they used heroin in the previous year. That’s up from under 2 per 1,000 about a decade ago.

The researchers found that people who abused opioid painkillers were 40 times more likely to abuse heroin.



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