Record Amounts of Smuggled Heroin and Heroin Overdoses

“I read a statistic in DEA that 80 percent of all heroin users started their addiction from prescription drugs. So if we can take that element out of it … that’s a significant impact for the onset of heroin addiction,” said DEA agent Erica Curry, a spokesperson for the agency. “We try to make Arizona a less desirable route for drug traffickers and that’s what we want to do, is hit them so hard that they don’t want to come through Arizona.”

With overdose deaths continuing to increase, heroin is impacted not only major cities but smaller more secluded communities as well. Large amounts of heroin is being moved across the Southwest and distributed throughout the US.  “Consequently, the western states’ roles as heroin transit areas are increasingly significant,” the report says. “DEA and local law enforcement reporting from several western states indicates heroin is transiting those areas in greater volumes and in larger shipment sizes.”

Heroin overdoses and drug-related deaths are increasing much faster than that of other illicit drugs, the DEA reports. 8,620 people died from heroin-related drug overdoses in 2013. That is nearly three times that of 2010. In Arizona, heroin OD’s have increased from 50 in 2004 to nearly 200 in 2014, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports, the number of people using heroin is smaller than those using other drugs like cocaine and pain pills. But those using heroin has doubled from 2007 to 2013. The rate is increasing much faster than any other drug.

Photo Taken By Daniel Grobmeier/Cronkite News

Read Record amounts of heroin are smuggled through Arizona as overdose deaths rise across the state and country


In Response: Addicted Minds Treatment Directory, Founder and CEO Matthew Steiner

“We are looking at a major problem not only with the manufacturing of addictive prescription pain medications and the heroin trade but as a society in general. Our children are facing drugs in schools more than ever. Our parents are working more to make ends meet which is causing them to become less and less involved. Our kids are facing the drug problem head on and alone. As parents, we need to stop turning a blind eye and start paying attention. If we are going to make an impact, we all need to rally together to bring greater awareness into our homes. We need additional prevention and treatment programs available to everyone, not just those with resources or health coverage. We need to pause and rethink our priorities. We need reduce our spending on the tangible things that perhaps are not that important and start spending our time and money on the intangibles that really are.

If we are going to make a serious impact, it is going to take everyone doing everything they can. To often we rely on “the other guy.” We place huge expectations on our police departments, teachers and therapists. Change starts in the home. We must start relying on ourselves. We must talk to our kids even when we are tired or think they are not listening. We must. You and I must. Otherwise, I do not see the heroin-related death rates declining any time soon.

“It is our responsibility, no one else’s, to keep our kids safe.”