Heroin use is on the rise in Missouri, according to a new report to be released Tuesday. Many people using heroin have switched from more expensive opioid pills, according to The Kansas City Star.
Many new heroin users are young, white and female, the newspaper notes. “It’s getting to be an epidemic down here,” Bobby Burns, Residential Director for the Mission Missouri Recovery Project, told the newspaper. “You can get a bag of heroin for $10. That’s what people are doing when they can’t afford the pills.”
The report by the Missouri Recovery Network notes the high cost of opioids, and the reduced supply of the pills due to tightened law enforcement, have increased heroin’s popularity.
The Missouri Department of Mental Health says the average age of first use of heroin is 21. According to the department, 69 people in the state died from heroin in 2007. In 2011, the number was 244.
A study published last year found that as OxyContin abuse has decreased since the painkiller has been reformulated to make it more difficult to misuse, many people who abused the drug have switched to heroin.