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More people seek treatment for heroin use than for any other illicit drug, except marijuana.

The decline in the number of treatment admissions to publicly funded facilities for abuse of controlled prescription drugs (CPD) can likely be attributed to the increase of (CPD) abusers using heroin.  Many abusers, when unable to obtain or afford CPDs, begin using heroin, a cheaper alternative that offers similar physiological effects.[1]

Medications are available to treat heroin addiction while reducing drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms, improving the odds of achieving abstinence. There are now a variety of medications that can be tailored to a person’s recovery needs while taking into account co-occurring health conditions.[2] 

Prior to 2008, in the St. Louis Metropolitan area, the drug shift, the percentage of admissions in which heroin was named as the primary drug by abusers seeking treatment was always lower than admissions for alcohol, cocaine, or marijuana. During 2008, the number of heroin treatment admissions surpassed the number of cocaine admissions for the first time. Heroin treatment admissions also surpassed marijuana admissions during 2009. During 2012, heroin treatment admissions surpassed alcohol admissions for the first time.[3] 

[1] (U) U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA Intelligence Report, National Drug Threat Assessment Summary; October 2015
[2] National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA).  Research Report Series:  Heroin. November 2014, Bethesda, MD:  National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). 
[3] National Drug Early Warning System for St. Louis, Jefferson, Franklin, St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren Counties and St. Louis City.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT is primarily used for the treatment of addiction to opioids such as heroin and prescription pain relievers that contain opiates. 


Recent dramatic numbers of overdose deaths from prescription oipiods and heroin has increased the demand for Naloxone, a medication that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose. 


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