The use of heroin is on the rise among white American adults, a new study warns.
Scientists say that five times the number of adults reported using heroin in 2012 to 2013 as did in 2001 to 2002.
In addition, the number of adults who reported being dependent on the drug tripled over the same time period, the researchers found.
Whites between the ages of 18 and 44 accounted for the biggest rise in heroin addiction, which has been fueled in part by the misuse of opioid prescription drugs.
The study, conducted at Columbia University, looked at two years of data – 2001 to 2002 and 2012 to 2013 – taken from a national survey called the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.
Approximately 80,000 adults were interviewed in-person by researchers and were asked questions about whether or not they had ever used heroin in their life and whether or not they had a heroin-use disorder.
A heroin-use disorder means that a person is unable to stop using the drug even if he or she would like to, and the drug interferes with the person’s life and social functioning.