The number of deaths in the United States involving heroin more than tripled between 2010 and 2014, according to a new report by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The number of people reporting current heroin use nearly tripled between 2007 and 2014, the agency said.
The DEA’s 2016 National Heroin Threat Assessment Summary found 425,000 people said they used heroin in the past month in 2014, and 10,574 people died from the drug. Deaths due to synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and similar drugs, increased 79 percent between 2013 and 2014.
Many people who use prescription opioid painkillers become addicted, and then switch to heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than illegal prescription drugs, the DEA noted.