Over the last half a century a shift has taken place in those known to use heroin. In the 1960’s and following, heroin users consisted primarily of men, blacks, and those over the age of 45. Today, heroin users are divided evenly between men and women, with 90% of users being white, and the age having dropped to those mostly between the ages 25 to 34 years old. While this shift and the rise in heroin use are on a national level, Indiana exceeds national levels. College students in Indiana report using heroin four times more than college students at the national level.
In the 1960’s and thereafter, it was also known that users began with heroin and moved from that to prescription medication. As we look at the rise in heroin use today it is observed that most heroin users begin with prescription painkillers. According to the Partnership for Drug Free Kids, 98% of heroin users report use for the high it gives and 94% report using heroin because it is much cheaper and easier to get than prescription medications. As prescription medication use has become more prevalent and expensive over the last half a century, it is no wonder abusers have begun switching to heroin as a cheaper, easier fix.