What is the prevalence of heroin toxicity in the US?

Updated: Dec 31, 2020
  • Author: Rania Habal, MD; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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The true prevalence of heroin use is probably much higher than reported in surveys because surveys depend on self-reporting and may not reach some of the persons who use heroin the heaviest. According to the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 948,000 persons aged 12 years and older reported using heroin in the past year (about 0.4% of that age group); about 475,000 persons (about 0.2%) were current heroin users, and about 591,000 persons had a heroin use disorder. [3]

NSDUH estimates that the percentage of current heroin users in 2016 were higher than the percentages from 2002 to 2013, but was similar to the percentages in 2014 and 2015. [3]  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the number of persons who used heroin in the past year decreased from 886,000 in 2017 to 808,000 in 2018. [4]

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