The New Opiate Addict

January 11, 2014

By Terence T. Gorski, Author
January 11, 2014


Men Get Addicted

A Profile of the New Opiate Addict

There is an old stereotype of opiate addicts painting them as old-school street junkies who over-dose in alleys with needles in their arms. This stereotype is not only wrong – it is dangerous. It deters people from recognizing the new opiates, especially prescription pain-killers and their non-medical use, and the new opiate addicts who are thirty-something in age, largely employed even in this faltering economy, and spending one-third of their annual income of about $53,000 per year supporting their opiate addiction.


Siobhan A. Morse, Researcher

I developed this snapshot of the new opiate addict from a research study by Siobhan A. Morse who is the Director of Research for Foundations Recovery Network

Detailed Information On The New Opiate Addict

Here is a summary of the data upon which this profile of the new opiate addict is based: Of the 1,972 patients who agreed to participate in research between January 2008 and June 2010:

– 49.8% reported opiate use within the 30 days prior to admission:

– 11.8% reported heroin use,

– 5.4% reported non-medical use of methadone, and


Women Get Addicted

– 32.4% reported using “other opiates,” which includes nonmedical prescription opiate use.

– 8.4% of the opiate users reported using more than one type of opiate.

– The average age was 32.5 years, 59% were males and 49% were females.

– Over half (52%) reported being employed in the 30 days prior to admission; however, they also reported only working an average of 10.7 days.

– 95.8% reported receiving money from illegal activity in the month prior to treatment.

– Their average monthly income was $1,465 in the month prior, earning about $53,000 per year.

– Most spent an average of 35% of their earned monthly income on opiate drugs.

– Six months post-treatment, 73.2% of opiate users remained alcohol-free and 80.5% of were drug-free.

Opiate Use Fact Sheet

– There was a 400% increase in prescription painkillers from 1999 to 2010 (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, 2012).

– In 2011, prescription painkillers are the largest single category of illicit drug use other than marijuana (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012).

– The USA and Canada combined account for 6%, 22 tons, of the world’s heroin consumption in 2010 (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime , 2010).

– In 2011, 4.5 million Americans over the age of 12 were current nonmedical users of painkillers and an additional 620,000 were past year users of heroin (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012).

– 1.8 million persons suffered from a pain reliever abuse or dependence in 2011 (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012).

– Opioid pain relievers accounted for 14,800 drug overdose deaths in 2008 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011).

– The societal costs of opioid abuse, dependence and misuse including health care consumption, lost productivity and criminal justice costs and were estimated at $55.7 billion (Birnbaum, 2011).

Read the entire study on the internet.




Read Straight Talk About Addiction
By Terence T. Gorski

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