“We will continue to combat heroin trafficking to protect Americans from this severe and growing threat.”

DEA Releases 2015 National Heroin Threat Assessment

The Threat Is Severe and Growing

UsdEaThe National Heroin Threat Assessment (NHTA), released today by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), shows heroin use and availability on the rise and causing more overdose deaths than at any time in the last decade. Although fewer people presently use heroin than other illicit drugs, the heroin user population is growing at a faster rate than any other drug of abuse, almost doubling between 2007 and 2013—from 161,000 to 289,000—according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). According to the Centers for Disease Control, deaths involving heroin more than tripled between 2007 (2,402) and 2013 (8,260).

“DEA is targeting the cartels that produce and smuggle heroin into the U.S. and organized criminals that distribute this poison,” said DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “We will continue to combat heroin trafficking to protect Americans from this severe and growing threat.”

The NHTA is based, in part, on survey responses from more than 1,100 law enforcement agencies, which were asked to identify the greatest drug threat in their areas. A majority of agencies indicated heroin as the primary drug threat. Historically, the percentage of agencies reporting heroin as their greatest concern steadily increased from 8 percent in 2007 to 38 percent in 2015. According to National Seizure System data, from 2010 through 2014, heroin seizures in the U.S. rose 81 percent, from 2,763 kilograms to 5,014 kilograms. During that same period, the average size of a heroin seizure more than doubled, from 0.86 kilograms to 1.74 kilograms. The higher demand for heroin is partly driven by an increase in controlled prescription drug (CPD) abuse over the past decade.

Many CPD users became addicted to opioid medications originally prescribed for a legitimate medical purpose. A recent SAMHSA study found that four out of five recent new heroin users had previously abused prescription pain relievers. The reasons an individual shifts from one opiate to another vary, but today’s heroin is higher in purity, less expensive, and often easier to obtain than illegal CPDs. Higher purity allows heroin to be smoked or snorted, thereby avoiding the stigmas associated with injection. Heroin users today tend to be younger, more affluent, and more ethnically and geographically diverse than ever before.

The NHTA is a document prepared in close collaboration with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies throughout the country, and is intended to provide policymakers, law enforcement personnel, and prevention and treatment specialists with strategic drug intelligence to help formulate counterdrug policies, establish law enforcement priorities and allocate resources. The 2015 National Heroin Threat Assessment Summary can be viewed online at http://www.dea.gov/divisions/hq/2015/hq052215_National_Heroin_Threat_Assessment_Summary.pdf.

7 Responses

  1. Please.750 to 1500 alcohol deaths out of the tens of millions who use alcohol is not an issue.

    • That 2-4 per day is alcohol toxicity.. those that drink themselves to death with BAC >0.30… the actual number of deaths from alcohol use/abuse is 85 K/yr.. tobacco kills off another 450 K/yr.. it is estimated that at any given point in time 20% of the population is a border line alcoholic.. similar per-cent “addicted” to tobacco/Nicotine … compared to 1% -2% of the population that abuses some substance other than alcohol & tobacco.. so using your logic… 16 K dying from “opiate involved deaths” out of the 3 to 6 million “drug addicts”.. should not be much of a issue.. particularly since – as a society – we don’t track how many of those “over doses” are actual suicides… but we do have about 40 K suicides/yr from other means/methodologies

  2. Heroin overdoses are mostly due to substandard quality control.Legalize it and the user would know how pure it is and overdoses would be far fewer in number. Liquor is clearly labeled for its
    alcohol content so there are few alcohol overdoses.

  3. Great points! I couldn’t agree more.

  4. I am not going to publicly like this post because it’s all a bunch of crap. The DEA states publicly that they are focused on Cartels and other smugglers bringing illegal drugs into our country but yet they are still focused on messing with the legal medical practitioners. Heroin and opium have been being smuggled into the US since Chinese immigrants first started coming to our country. Then during the Vietnam War heroin use became a serious problem in the poor inner-city neighborhoods, actually being smuggled by the CIA and sold to American soldiers in order to support the cost of the war. Also there were criminals like Frank Lucas who smuggled Heroin into the US in the caskets of fallen soldiers and it took over 7 years for anyone to catch him. The funny thing about all this is the fact that statistics have shown that soldiers who used heroin while deployed in Vietnam, quit when they came home. A extremely high percentage of them ever used again.
    During the Iran Contra affair, the CIA again helped to support the smuggling of cocaine into the US and very little was ever done about that. So, looking back on all this, I blame our government for the addiction problems in the United States today, not the medical professionals.
    Corruption and misconduct seems to be a serious problem with our government agencies and they are getting away with it. They help to get Americans hooked on illegal drugs than blame an honest and respectable professions like our doctors, nurses and pharmacists for the problems at hand.
    I would like to know what percentage of opiate overdose deaths are actual patients who were prescribed these medications compared to opiate overdose deaths from people who obtained these drugs illegally.

  5. That’s really messed up

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