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There seems to be a strong correlation between the amount of deaths related to heroin use and the incidence of prescription opioid overdose. In a sampling of 28 states by the CDC, heroin deaths doubled between 2010 and 2012. The two factors affecting these rates include the prevalence of prescription opioids, and the increased heroin supply.
Though the use of prescription opioids does not necessarily drive a person to use heroin, it has been found that 3/4 of heroin users previously abused these drugs. Additionally, in states where heroin overdose was highest, the rate of prescription opioid related deaths was also high.
Researchers and regulators intend to use this data in order to help alleviate heroin and opioid related overdoses. Opinions for suggested changes to enhance public safety include better control on the prescription of opioids, and more readily available treatment for those already addicted.
In addition to addressing root causes, the use of Naloxone (Narcan) has become more prevalent by emergency responders for treating overdose victims. Naloxone temporarily reverses the effects of opioid overdose allowing first responders an opportunity to save the victim's life.