INTERNATIONAL STATISTICS

  • An estimated 13.5 million people in the world take opioids (opium-like substances), including 9.2 million who use heroin.
  • In 2007, 93% of the world’s opium supply came from Afghanistan. (Opium is the raw material for heroin supply.) Its total export value was about $4 billion, of which almost three quarters went to traffickers. About a quarter went to Afghan opium farmers.
  • The 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported 153,000 current heroin users in the US in 2007. Other estimates give figures as high as 900,000.
  • Opiates, mainly heroin, were involved in four of every five drug-related deaths in Europe, according to a 2008 report from the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction.
  • Opiates, mainly heroin, account for 18% of the admissions for drug and alcohol treatment in the US.

From the day I started using, I never stopped. Within one week I had gone from snorting heroin to shooting it. Within one month I was addicted and going through all my money. I sold everything of value that I owned and eventually everything that my mother owned. Within one year, I had lost everything.

“I sold my car, lost my job, was kicked out of my mother’s house, was $25,000 in credit card debt, and living on the streets of Camden, New Jersey. I lied, I stole, I cheated.

“I was raped, beaten, mugged, robbed, arrested, homeless, sick and desperate. I knew that nobody could have a lifestyle like that very long and I knew that death was imminent. If anything, death was better than a life as a junkie.” —Alison