Heroin Abuse

Many who become addicted to prescription opioids turn to heroin as a cheaper, more widely available alternative. Among new heroin users in the US, about 4 in 5 reported using prescription opioids before using heroin.

The prescription opioid epidemic, starting in 2010, has been followed by increases in heroin misuse and abuse, and its related health and social consequences.

Heroin Overdose ED visits

Heroin overdose-related ED visits increased by 210.0% from 2005-2018 (Figure 1), while heroin overdose-related hospitalizations increased by 163.1% from 2010-2018 (Figure 5).

The West region (SPA 5) had the highest rates of heroin overdose ED visits in 2017 (Figures 3-4). The West (SPA 5) and Antelope Valley (SPA 1) had the highest rates of heroin overdose hospitalizations in 2017 (Figures 7-8).

Figure 1. Heroin overdose-related ED visits, LAC, 2005-2018
Source: OSHPD

Figure 2. Primary heroin overdose ED visits, LAC, 2005-2018
Source: OSHPD

Figure 3. Heroin overdose-related ED visit rate per 100,000, LAC, 2017

Source: OSHPD

Figure 4. Primary heroin overdose-related ED visit rate per 100,000, LAC, 2017

Source: OSHPD

Heroin Overdose Hospitalizations

Figure 5. Heroin overdose-related hospitalizations, LAC, 2005-2018
Source: OSHPD

Figure 6. Primary heroin overdose hospitalizations, LAC, 2005-2018
Source: OSHPD

Figure 7. Heroin overdose-related hospitalization rate per 100,000, LAC, 2017

Source: OSHPD

Figure 8. Heroin overdose-related hospitalization rate per 100,000, LAC, 2017

Source: OSHPD

Heroin Overdose Deaths

The number of heroin-related deaths remained relatively stable from 2007-2016, and increased in 2017 (Figure 9).  

Figure 9. Heroin-related deaths (with drug overdose as underlying cause of death), LAC, 1999-2017
Source: CDC Wonder

Heroin Use Disorder Treatment

Primary heroin treatment admissions increased 44.7% from FY0506-FY1617, then decreased 41.0% in FY1819 (Figure 10). Heroin admissions increased with age, peaking at age 45-54 years, then decreased (Figure 11). Males accounted for 70% of primary heroin treatment admissions to publicly funded treatment programs from FY0506-FY1819 (Figure 12) in LAC. Whites accounted for 46% of primary heroin admissions, followed by Latinxs (40%), and Blacks (9%) (Figure 13).

Figure 10. Primary heroin treatment admissions, LAC, FY0506-FY1819
Source: LACPRS

Figure 11. Primary heroin treatment admissions, by age, LAC, FY0506-FY1819
Source: LACPRS

Figure 12. Primary heroin treatment admissions, by gender, LAC, FY0506-FY1819
Source: LACPRS

Figure 13. Primary heroin treatment admissions, by race/ethnicity, LAC, FY0506-FY1819
Source: LACPRS

References

Figures 1-8.  Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD). Nonpublic Inpatient Discharge and Emergency Department data. California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Figure 9Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Multiple Cause of Death 1999-2017 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released December, 2018. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2017, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd-icd10.html on Jan 24, 2019 4:36:05 PM.

Figures 10-13. Los Angeles County Participant Reporting System data. Substance Abuse Prevention and Control, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.