In a May 28, 2014 post, JAMA Psychiatry released a new study chronicling the changing face of Heroin abuse in the United States over the last 50 years.
The study was performed byTheodore J. Cicero, PhD; Matthew S. Ellis, MPE; Hilary L. Surratt, PhD; Steven P. Kurtz, PhD.
Importantly the study shows:
Respondents who began using heroin in the 1960s were predominantly young men (82.8%; mean age, 16.5 years) whose first opioid of abuse was heroin (80%). However, more recent users were older (mean age, 22.9 years) men and women living in less urban areas (75.2%) who were introduced to opioids through prescription drugs (75.0%). Whites and nonwhites were equally represented in those initiating use prior to the 1980s, but nearly 90% of respondents who began use in the last decade were white
Furthermore it concludes:
Our data show that the demographic composition of heroin
users entering treatment has shifted over the last 50 years such that heroin use has changed from an inner-city, minority-centered problem to one that has a more widespread geographical distribution, involving primarily white men and women in their late 20s living outside of large urban areas.