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Heroin – dangerous, but a growing epidemic in New Hampshire

One of the most addictive and dangerous drugs in the illicit market is heroin. Most people are familiar with the name, but they might not realize it can be snorted and smoked as well as injected. Authorities have found more people are willing to try it when they don't have to use a needle. It isn't regulated, of course, so it's more dangerous than prescription opiates. Quality, dosage and added ingredients can contribute to overdose and death. It has no accepted medical use, high potential for abuse and severe addictive qualities.

Despite the dangers, increased use in New Hampshire has been noted. Some correlate its growing use with prescription drug abuse. In the past 10 years, records show the number of people admitted to treatment programs funded by the state rose by 90 percent for heroin use and by 500 percent for those abusing prescription medications.

These statistics paint a clear picture of the criminal aspect of drug abuse as well. Crime and safety concerns are very relevant as addictions increase. In 2012, of traffic stops that led to blood or urine tests, 704 arrests involved heroin. It's reported by local law enforcement that property crimes, robberies, assaults and burglaries associated with drug charges are on the rise.

New Hampshire organizations focus much time and energy on treatment of drug addiction. When drug offenses are the basis for arrests, appropriate resources to improve outcomes can be considered. Policymakers, lawmakers and government leaders are working to improve treatment services designed to help addicts recover from opiate abuse.

Addiction can destroy families; incarceration on drug charges can do the same. Serious consequences usually result from the moment an arrest takes place. But overcoming the heroin addiction as part of a defense strategy might provide an improved outcome for everyone.

Source: Deparmtent of Health and Human Services, New Hampshire, "Heroin in New Hampshire: A Dangerous Resurgence," accessed June 12, 2015

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