Whether through prescription drug abuse or IV heroin, opiate addiction is at epidemic proportions
According to the CDC, between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, and more than 8,200 people died in 2013. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) is also reporting rapidly rising heroin use. This is attributed to an epidemic of prescription opiate addiction that operates as a gateway drug for heroin.
Whether through prescription drug abuse or IV heroin, opiate addiction is on the increase. With 75 percent of crimes being drug related and more than two-thirds of the incarcerated being substance involved, many individuals will enter the criminal justice system opiate addicted and suffer through withdrawal while incarcerated.
Everyone working in corrections needs to be aware of the high potential for opiate abuse in the prisoner population. This starts with screening and assessment during intake into the system.