Phoenix Blog post

Heroin, an epidemic in Seattle and America that not many people even know about. “Heroin is a highly addictive analgesic drug derived from morphine, often used illicitly as a narcotic producing euphoria.” There are many reason why heroin is such a big issue in the Seattle area. Many people get prescribed opioids and do not know what is actually inside these pills. “Many patients taking prescription opioids know them as “pain killers” and are not aware of their similarity to heroin.” Parents, kids, and other family members get addicted to these prescription drugs and do not get a re-prescription and have to resort to other drugs to fill their addiction needs. Heroin, has the same addictive opium poppy as in oxycodone. Heroin is increasingly getting more popular and at a higher demand in the united states, higher demand, causes more heroin to be accessed on the streets or through drug dealers. Instead of getting a doctor to prescribe you oxycodone or trying to purchase the expensive pain reliever many people revert to the cheaper, and easier to access drug, heroin. “Roughly 47,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2014, the highest on record.” Drug overdoses now kill more Americans each year than either automobile accidents or guns. The United States have more heroin users per capita than any other country in the world. Canada has the second highest, which is alarming that a majority of land  mass in North America have the highest heroin use. There has been a 203% increase of heroin users in America since 2001. “A United Nations study released this summer found that use of heroin has soared in the last two decades. U.S. deaths related to the narcotic have increased fivefold since 2000 and the number of U.S. users has tripled to one million in that time.”   

Heroin a cheaper easier way to fill their addictive needs many Seattle residents revert to heroin instead of illegally purchasing oxycodone or other prescription drugs with the same addictive opium poppy. Seattle residents alone had 150 heroin related deaths in 2014 that is the highest total amount in the last two decades. Treatment centers for heroin in Seattle have doubled since 2010, the number is increasing more each year in the Seattle area. The number of Seattle treatment admissions for heroin is higher than any other drug since 1999. Seattle has one the highest number of heroin deaths in any American city in the past five years. There are two main reasons why heroin abuse is skyrocketing in the Seattle area. First, the legalization of marijuana has played a big part. Because adults can purchase cannabis for their own personal recreational use, the market for illegal marijuana has plummeted. “Mexican drug cartels that formerly concentrated on marijuana cultivation have, by necessity, began focusing on other drugs, primarily heroin, and to a lesser degree, methamphetamines.” Now, many of the marijuana fields are growing opium poppies that can later be manufactured into heroin that is extremely pure and potent. They find a ready and enthusiastic market for that heroin in Seattle/King County, because of the second reason. Just as it was elsewhere in the country, the abuse of prescription opiate painkiller medication in Seattle became a major problem in recent years. At one point, there were enough pain pill prescriptions written in the United States to provide every adult in the country with their own personal bottle of pills. “Law enforcement and healthcare officials responded– by changing prescribing practices, creating databases that discouraged “shopping” doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions, and creating take-back days that got unused prescriptions out of homes.” Seattle, is one the upcoming heroin capitals in America and there are many treatment center out there helping the cause, we also believe our app and invention could help save many lives. 150 people die of a heroin overdose in Seattle, many of the reasons is because they do not receive medical attention in the first hour of overdosing. We could stop that. Just like Leonardo and how he wants us to use all of technology to help create and innovate America, we should use all our technology to help people who overdose on heroin to save their lives. Just like how we learned about culture this creative project helps us with the culture of heroin problems and how to combat people who overdose on heroin.

 

 

 

https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/heroin-other-drug-users-may-get-a-safe-use-site-in-seattle/

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-seattle-heroin-20160920-snap-story.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/26/us/seattles-potential-solution-for-heroin-epidemic-places-for-legal-drug-use.html?_r=0

http://247wallst.com/special-report/2016/06/24/10-states-with-the-most-drug-overdoses/2/

http://recoverybrands.com/drugs-in-america-vs-europe/

https://canadiancentreforaddictions.org/drug-related-deaths-in-canada/

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The Solutions We Have

Christian m.

Current Solutions to the problem of Heroin addiction in Seattle;

There are several new solutions being  implemented in the Seattle area, that have been taken from European nations and put into practice on a small scale. The results have been decidedly positive and it is likely that we will see the advancement of heroin addiction, as well as other forms of addiction treatment continue in the same fashion. Recently several counties in the Seattle area have voted to approve Supervised injection sites, as well as employ harm reduction measures.There has also been a large push by many Seattle communities to fund and operate needle exchange services. The supervised injection site, or “safe room” is a designated space where illicit drug users can partake intravenously, in a sanitary facility, with medical professionals at the ready. This helps to take heroin use off of the streets, thereby reducing the number of overdose related fatalities. These facilities are generally equipped with EMTs, and are a part of the harm reduction approach to limiting the amount of heroin use in public places.

Harm reduction methods are becoming increasingly popular among liberal cities, like Seattle in the 21st century. The traditional war on drugs approach has been found by many agencies, including The World Health Organization as being minimally effective. Another effective form of Harm reduction is opioid replacement therapy (ORT), where users are transitioned from a euphoric opioid, to a less potent blend of opioids and artificial compounds. Harm reduction has taken many forms but the most readily evident is in litigation, there are 24 states that have employed harm reduction in one way or another. In many areas of Seattle, as well as other major cities there are needle exchange programs in operation, where you are able to exchange your used needles for clean ones in the same quantity. These programs are targeted specifically at the HIV/AIDS  contracting demographic of heroin users. The american medical association found in a 2013 study that those who participate in clean needle exchange programs or safe injection site are more likely to seek treatment for addiction than those who do not.They have since created a task force for combating heroin addiction in the streets and are making progress by partnering with social media as well as a host of first response apps designed to be able to allow users to contact emergency response units in case of a medical emergency.

There are many methods currently in practice for combating heroin addiction, but the rise in use has come as a result of an increase in the implementation of prescription based opiates. The biggest change will come when regulations are inflicted upon the pharmaceutical industry, and medicinal opiates are diversified. There are many promising forms of holistic and naturopathic medicine. Both of these disciplines are devoid of the use of opiates as a treatment mechanism. In some cases  medical Marijuana may be  harnessed as an alternative treatment for those with a higher propensity toward opioid dependence.The Chemical makeup of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is such that it is not chemically addictive. As far as pain treatments go, this means that it is able to target the brain’s pain receptors without causing an addictive degree of endorphin release. Treatment methods in this field are still completely new to medical science as a whole, and remain largely untested,pending further legalization.  Based upon the standing success of these program, if any of these methods of Harm reduction can be harnessed on a large enough scale the result would likely be an across the board reduction in heroin overdoses, and usage as a whole.

            The DEA has released a statistical analysis of Seattle’s Heroin epidemic through the previous decade, and concluded that approximately 1.6 adults in the united states have tried heroin at some point in their lives. The result of this has been an increase in the number of deaths from heroin overdoses to about 122,000 in 2015. Another common treatment for heroin users seeking help, is behavioral therapy, which consists of varying psychotherapy techniques designed to target addictive habits in individuals with addictive personality issues. This techniques is from the article Provisional Laws of Acquired Behavior (Edward Thorndike 1911).

                  Some doctors are able to prescribe controlled doses of methadone as a means of combating opioid addiction, and helping in the detoxification process. Typically the prescriptive concentration of methadone is sold under the name Dolophine, although because it acts on opioid receptors directly there is a notable degree of risk for addiction to methadone itself. Because of the risk of dependency, doses are usually supervised by one or more healthcare providers, and tapered down quickly. Most of these methods of treatment have their benefits and flaws, but ultimately it is the duty of the pharmaceutical industry to provide medications that are absent from the list of prescribable opiates. In western countries where opioid prescriptions are highly regulated, there has been a consistent drop in the number of users (European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Abuse 2016). Overall, great strides have been made in combating the problem of heroin and other opioid addiction, but the introduction of an app, similar to the pulse point app, but targeted at treating overdoses and responding quickly to emergency situations, would help to decrease the number of fatalities each year in Seattle, and eventually the world.

Bibliography

Ronayne, Kathleen. “Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on Treating Drug Addiction?” PBS News Hour. KCTS, 1 Nov. 2016. Web. 1 Nov. 2016.

Arnold, Alexandria. “Seattle Tries to Curb Heroin Deaths by Offering a Safe Place to Use.” Bloomberg. Business Week, 5 Oct. 2016. Web. 1 Nov. 2016.

“Opium Throughout History.” PBS Frontline. KCTS, 22 Oct. 2006. Web. 1 Nov. 2016.

 

Gateways

The use of heroin is usually associated with prescription opioids such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Demerol. All of these prescription drugs are used for treatment of pain. When these prescription drugs are used in ways that are not intended by a doctor, used by someone that is not being prescribed these drugs, this is when serious health effects such as addiction, overdose, or death especially when combined with other drugs. Nearly 50% of young people who use heroin have reported abusing prescriptions opioids before using heroin. This change occurred because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids. When someone is abusing these prescription pain killers there is a chemical imbalance in the brain making the person think that these drugs are needed in an everyday setting.   Not understanding what is happening, the person keeps seeking out these drugs so they can go on with normal everyday life. When prescriptions run out or get too expensive, people turn to cheap easy to obtain alternatives such as heroin to keep this addiction at bay. This is one very common way of becoming addicted to this very harmful drug.

The use of cannabis or alcohol abuse can lead to future use of more dangerous hard drugs. It is often attributed to the earlier use of one of several illicit substances such as tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis. The Reverse Gateway Theory states that earlier regular use of cannabis predicts later tobacco initiation and/or nicotine dependence in those who did not use tobacco before.

The hypothesis is that the use of soft drugs like cannabis leads to the use of harder drugs via a sequence of stages. This is based on the observation that many consumers who use cocaine or heroin have previously used cannabis, and most have used alcohol or tobacco; the hypothesis is that progression of drug use initiation continues from there to other drugs like cocaine or heroin.

The environment that someone surrounds themselves has a large influence in what their interests are and in this case what drugs are present in their life.  By someone having friends that partake in drugs, peer pressure is going to be present in their friendship. A common motive for a first time drug use is peer pressure. Social learning theory describes how people learn from watching others. This is good news for humans because it means that they don’t always have to stick their own hand in the fire in order to learn that it is painful to do so. If the individual observes that other people appear to receive rewards for certain behaviors they will be tempted to model these behaviors. Thus if peers appear to get enjoyment from using drugs, the individual will be tempted to emulate their behavior. Social learning is critical for human survival but sometimes it can go wrong if the behavior being imitated is self-destructive. Just as it is possible to learn bad behaviors from watching other people, it is also possible to unlearn them. Drug users will tend to spend time with others who share their habit. Within this group the use of these chemicals will be considered normal behavior. Members may actually see non-drug users as deviants and view them suspiciously. Substance abuse will be the main thing that unites this group. Their common interest will be getting high together. It can be difficult for the individual to give up the comfort of belonging to a group of fellow drug users. This is something the individual will need to do if they hope to escape their addiction. These peers are unlikely to support any decision to quit. They are more likely to try to sabotage such an attempt. If a person in recovery continues to spend a lot of time with their drug using, it will increase their risk of relapse.

By:Austin Stenberg

http://alcoholrehab.com/drug-addiction/peer-pressure-and-substance-abuse/.

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/how-heroin-linked-to-prescription-drug-abuse

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateway_drug_theory

ODA Mobile Application

We are addressing heroin addiction by combining two existing life saving products into one, PulsePoint and Life Alert. These two existing services have proven to be very efficient in providing life saving treatment to patients of various medical emergencies. Combining these two services and applying it to patients suffering from a heroin overdose will save lives while we continue to find a solution to this public health crisis.

PulsePoint is a mobile app that allows CPR trained volunteers to respond to reports of a heart attack with in 300 yards of their location. Volunteers are alerted through the app, by the dispatcher, when someone is suffering from a heart attack near them. The volunteer can then respond to the patients location and begin CPR if medics have not arrived. PulsePoint was launched in 2010 and has been adopted by over 500 cities in 17 states. With a quick Google search you can find many stories from all across the country of PulsePoint saving lives.

Life Alert is a product for independent seniors to use in the event of an emergency. Life Alert provides a neckless or bracelet with a button for seniors to push in the event of an emergency. An alert is then sent to the local dispatcher to send emergency services to the patient, usually in the event that they do not have access to a phone. Life Alert claims to save a life every 10 minutes, and has over 33,000 member testimonies.

There is yet to be a technology application to address the heroin epidemic. The heroin epidemic has been addressed mostly through policy change (i.e. attempting to treat heroin addiction more as a health care matter than a criminal matter). We are looking to make the first significant impact on the heroin epidemic through technological innovation.

ODA (Overdose Alert) is a combination of these two services to provide life saving services to patients of drug overdoses. The app connects overdose patients with trained volunteers equipped with Narcan with in 300 yards of the patient, via the 911 dispatcher. Narcan is an overdose reversal drug that stabilizes a patient until they can receive further medical treatment. A heroin user will also have a “panic button” they can push in the event of an emergency. These panic buttons will be on a neckless or keychain that a user can press in the event of an overdose with no one around, or if no one has access to a phone. Hitting the panic button will trigger the same response (911 dispatcher is notified and sends out alert to ODA volunteers with in 300 yards). This service will help save lives while we fight to find solutions to this heroin epidemic.

The ODA system will work similarly to PulsePoint. It will be a non-profit that charges cities, counties, or states an annual access fee. This fee will range from $8,000-$28,000 each year, depending on the size of the cities population. Emergency service dispatch centers will have the ODA system integrated with their current dispatch system, much like the PulsePoint system. Life Alert technology will provide services in the event an overdose occurs when someone is alone or does not have access to a telephone. The life alert panic button is widely regarded as successful technology that has proven itself as effective for years. The panic button will be sold to cities at cost who will then sell them to addict’s family members, friends, or addicts themselves.

The annual fee will be used to fund volunteer training and app efficiency. Training for volunteers will be free, as well as their supply of Narcan. Volunteers must go through retraining annually to insure they can effectively administer Narcan, remain calm in a stressful situation, and properly navigate the app. Government agencies will also receive annual training as part of their yearly fee.

ODA will be the first significant technological innovation to address the heroin crisis. We are looking to combine two successful existing technologies into one, to address a knew problem. The PulsePoint app connects CPR trained volunteer with heart attack victims to increase the likely hood of a patients survival by notifying volunteers of patients suffering from a heart attack with in 300 yards of the patent. PulsePoint is widely considered a success and its technology can be implemented to help people from dying of heroin overdoses. A good complement to the PulsePoint technology would be the technology that Life Alert uses to help seniors living independently. Life Alert provides independent seniors with a panic button neckless or bracelet to press if they are ever in need of emergency services but do not have access to a telephone. Someone suffering from a heroin overdose could use this technology in the event they are suffering from an overdose and no one is around or has access to a telephone. This technology is highly innovative, creative, and will save lives.

Ellis Atkinson

Citations:

PulsePoint. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2016, from http://www.pulsepoint.org

Life Alert. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2016, from http://lifealert.com

Platt, S. (Director). (2016, February 23). Chasing Heroin [Video file]. Retrieved October 26, 2016, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/chasing-heroin/

Existing Solutions: Safe Use Houses

Before we look at the solution that was created within our group I looked at solutions that already exist and specifically Safe Injection Houses. What is a Safe Injection House? A Safe Injection House is a location usually within highly populated areas that is a clean sheltered place for heroin and cocaine addicts to take drugs. They are staffed by certified medical personnel and are legally sanctioned by the city and state government. The goal is to help eliminate health risks involved with injecting drugs. If they choose to take drugs at a safe Injection House the drug will be administered by medical personnel and then the needle can be properly cleaned and used again. This reduces as much of the health risks as possible and reduces waste. Obviously this doesn’t negate the effects of taking heroin or cocaine, but it does ensures that they do not overdose and can even begin recovering.

Where are Safe Injection Houses used? Currently Safe Injection Houses are not used in the United States. However they are used all over the world. Berne, Switzerland created the first Supervised Drug Consumption Room(SDCR) in 1986.  In fact Switzerland has been a leader in fighting heroin abuse. Other European countries soon followed suite. Today there are multiple SDCRs run by cities in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark, France, Canada and Thailand. Even now more and more countries are considering creating these SDCRs in their own countries. Seattle is one of the leading American cities considering building a Safe Injection House.

Will America begin creating SDCRs or Safe Injection Houses? Currently NYC is committing to funding a 100,00 dollar study to Supervised Injection Facilities(SFIs). They state that the reason for this is because of the steady rise of heroin related deaths each year and that it is something people are much more open to in recent times. The city council has not yet released a timeline for that study.

Also, much closer to home, Seattle has been looking into SFIs and recently an opioid task force recommended multiple SFI’s in King County including one in Seattle itself. Seattle has a huge heroin problem, one of the worst in the nation. Sadly it was found that just in 2014 one hundred and fifty-six deaths were caused by heroin. Right now more young people are entering detox for heroin than alcohol. The task force recommended raising awareness of heroin problems as well as creating two pilot SFIs. Though it is important to note that they didn’t estimate the cost of these facilities nor do we know whether or not this will get by federal law. If cost and federal law don’t get in the way and these facilities do actually open then Seattle will become the object of attention for major cities like Portland, San Francisco and NYC who are also considering this route in combating heroin deaths. It could be a costly mistake or it could make Seattle a leader in combating heroin abuse.

However Seattle must first consider if these sites actually work effectively. First of all we need to understand the goals of a facility like this. Their goal is not to rehabilitate addicts, the goal is to reduce the amount of overdoses, overdose related deaths and disease related to self injection. Currently just a few miles to the north of us in Vancouver there is a SFI in operation called Insite. Insite has been the cause of much controversy in North America, but has continued to operate since 2003. By now we can see some of the results of their labor. The clinic is a long room with brightly lit mirrored booths and is manned by calm confident individuals that ensure everyone’s safety. The City of Vancouver fully supports Insite’s work but Canada’s federal government strongly disagrees with SFIs. Because of this multiple studies have been conducted regarding Insite’s effectiveness

Dr. Thomas Kerr who is from the B.C. centre of Excellence in HIV/AIDS has looked into Insite’s effect on the area around it. Kerr states, “In the immediate area around Insite, the 40-block area around the facility, there’s been a 35-per-cent decline in overdose deaths and people who use Insite on a regular basis are 30 per cent more likely to enter addiction treatment.” This is great news! These sites are also proven to lower HIV and Hepatitis C in users. So, SFIs lower disease and death among users. They might even help with the rehabilitation process. However, they do not stop the use of heroin, the effect of heroin or illegal heroin traffic.

Should cities like Seattle use Safe Injection Sites? I think that they should, but not by themselves. If a city plans on using SFIs they should incorporate an awareness program linked to the Safe Use House and then linked to rehabilitation centers.

Written By: Isaac Waggoner

Sources:

“Heroin, Opioid Task Force Recommends Two Safe Injection Sites, One in Seattle.” Capitol Hill Times. Capitol Hill Times, 22 Sept. 2016. Web. 01 Nov. 2016. <http://www.capitolhilltimes.com/Content/Default/Main-news/Article/Heroin-opioid-task-force-recommends-two-safe-injection-sites-one-in-Seattle/-3/544/72&gt;.

MacQueen, Ken. “The Science Is In. And Insite Works.” Maclean’s. Roger’s Digital Media, 20 July 2015. Web. 02 Nov. 2016. <http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/the-scientists-are-in-insite-works/&gt;.

“Safe Injection Houses.” Alcohol Rehab. Dara Thailand, n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2016. <http://alcoholrehab.com/drug-addiction/safe-injection-houses/&gt;.

Smith, P. “Seattle Aims to Open the First Safe Injection Sites in the US [FEATURE].” StoptheDrugWar.org. StoptheDrupWar.org, 21 Sept. 2016. Web. 01 Nov. 2016. <http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2016/sep/21/seattle_aims_open_first_safe_inj&gt;.

“Supervised Consumption Facilities, Safe Injection Facilities, & Drug Consumption Rooms (SCFs, SIFs, and DCRs).” Welcome to Drug War Facts. N.p., 2016. Web. 01 Nov. 2016. <http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Safe_Injection&gt;.

“Supervised Injection Facilities.” Drug Policy Alliance. Drug Policy Alliance, 2016. Web. 01 Nov. 2016. <http://www.drugpolicy.org/supervised-injection-facilities&gt;.

Whitford, Emma. “City Agrees To Study Supervised Injection Sites For Heroin Users.” Gothamist. Gothamist, 28 Sept. 2016. Web. 01 Nov. 2016. <http://gothamist.com/2016/09/28/post_180.php&gt;.

Word from the man on the front lines…

Our solution to reduce heroin overdoses is an idea derived from an app (PulsePoint) that is currently used to help heart attack victims. The app alerts nearby, CPR certified individuals when a call to 911 is made concerning a heart attack. If the alerted CPR certified person can get to the victim before the EMTs, the victim has a higher chance of survival. If we were able to have the developers of the app alter it, or create a new one to incorporate opioid overdoses, it could potentially save as many victims for overdoses, as victims of heart attacks.

An EMT, Jason Velasquez said that “I usually respond to 10 or 20 calls per day, and 2, maybe 3, are from heart attacks […] I have responded to a couple cases this year that an individual was saved because of PulsePoint. It was a great idea.” Since it works so well why not use it for overdoses?

The app would function similarly to PulsePoint, but the first responders won’t be using CPR. Instead, they would use a nasal spray, known as Narcan (uses the drug Nalaxone), that is carried by many EMTs, and Police officers. When administered properly, Narcan can help a user live through what may have been a deadly overdose by regulating heart rate and breathing. This does mean, however, that whoever carries it must be trained to use it. Jason also added that “I’ve used Narcan once on a patient that overdosed on heroin. I honestly didn’t expect him to survive, but he left the hospital before the end of my shift.”

The innovation of the pulse point app has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives. Not only that, but it can help to reduce the amount of heroin addicts. These two advantages should reduce death from heroin overdoses, and drastically reduce the amount of heroin addicts.

Works Cited:

Leinwand, Donna. (2014). Police carry special drug to reverse heroin overdoses. USA              Today. Retrieved from                                                                                                                                http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/30/police-use-narcan-to-           reverse-heroin-overdoses/5063587/

Nalaxone (n.d). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naloxone

Cole Andray. Personal Interview with Jason Velasquez. 2016

 

Written by: Cole Andray

Heroin, an epidemic in Seattle and America that not many people even know about. “Heroin is a highly addictive analgesic drug derived from morphine, often used illicitly as a narcotic producing euphoria.” There are many reason why heroin is such a big issue in the Seattle area. Many people get prescribed opioids and do not know what is actually inside these pills. “Many patients taking prescription opioids know them as “pain killers” and are not aware of their similarity to heroin.” Parents, kids, and other family members get addicted to these prescription drugs and do not get a re-prescription and have to resort to other drugs to fill their addiction needs. Heroin, has the same addictive opium poppy as in oxycodone. Heroin is increasingly getting more popular and at a higher demand in the united states, higher demand, causes more heroin to be accessed on the streets or through drug dealers. Instead of getting a doctor to prescribe you oxycodone or trying to purchase the expensive pain reliever many people revert to the cheaper, and easier to access drug, heroin. “Roughly 47,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2014, the highest on record.” Drug overdoses now kill more Americans each year than either automobile accidents or guns. The United States have more heroin users per capita than any other country in the world. Canada has the second highest, which is alarming that a majority of land  mass in North America have the highest heroin use. There has been a 203% increase of heroin users in America since 2001. “A United Nations study released this summer found that use of heroin has soared in the last two decades. U.S. deaths related to the narcotic have increased fivefold since 2000 and the number of U.S. users has tripled to one million in that time.”   

Heroin a cheaper easier way to fill their addictive needs many Seattle residents revert to heroin instead of illegally purchasing oxycodone or other prescription drugs with the same addictive opium poppy. Seattle residents alone had 150 heroin related deaths in 2014 that is the highest total amount in the last two decades. Treatment centers for heroin in seattle have doubled since 2010, the number is increasing more each year in the seattle area. The number of Seattle treatment admissions for heroin is higher than any other drug since 1999. Seattle has one the highest number of heroin deaths in any American city in the past five years. There are two main reasons why heroin abuse is skyrocketing in the Seattle area. First, the legalization of marijuana has played a big part. Because adults can purchase cannabis for their own personal recreational use, the market for illegal marijuana has plummeted. “Mexican drug cartels that formerly concentrated on marijuana cultivation have, by necessity, began focusing on other drugs, primarily heroin, and to a lesser degree, methamphetamines.” Now, many of the marijuana fields are growing opium poppies that can later be manufactured into heroin that is extremely pure and potent. They find a ready and enthusiastic market for that heroin in Seattle/King County, because of the second reason. Just as it was elsewhere in the country, the abuse of prescription opiate painkiller medication in Seattle became a major problem in recent years. At one point, there were enough pain pill prescriptions written in the United States to provide every adult in the country with their own personal bottle of pills. “Law enforcement and healthcare officials responded– by changing prescribing practices, creating databases that discouraged “shopping” doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions, and creating take-back days that got unused prescriptions out of homes.”

https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/heroin-other-drug-users-may-get-a-safe-use-site-in-seattle/

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-seattle-heroin-20160920-snap-story.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/26/us/seattles-potential-solution-for-heroin-epidemic-places-for-legal-drug-use.html?_r=0

http://247wallst.com/special-report/2016/06/24/10-states-with-the-most-drug-overdoses/2/

http://recoverybrands.com/drugs-in-america-vs-europe/

https://canadiancentreforaddictions.org/drug-related-deaths-in-canada/