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By Peggy J. Parks

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Less than a year later he was found dead in his apartment by a close friend. Detox and Beyond Although relapse is common among heroin addicts, it is not inevitable. Many addicts are able to stay clean after treatment and go on to live drug-free lives. But overcoming heroin addiction takes a great deal of motivation, commitment, and willingness to work hard and to do whatever is needed to get better. The process starts with detox, which refers to abstinence from drugs while the addict’s bloodstream is cleansed of all traces of toxins.

Surveys by the US Department of Health and Human Services have shown a 66 percent increase in heroin use among Americans from 2002 to 2012, and the number of people addicted more than doubled during the same period. Facts and Illustrations • According to New York law enforcement data, heroin-related arrests on Long Island rose 163 percent between 2013 and 2014, with the biggest increase among teenagers and young adults. • According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA), the greatest increase in heroin use is among young adults aged eighteen to twenty-five.

45 Heroin Addiction Heroin Is Hazardous to Health People who habitually use heroin can do serious harm to their bodies, from developing skin infections to contracting liver, heart, and kidney disease. Overdose is also a serious risk. edu. 46 • The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released a report in 2014 showing that the number of heroin-related overdose deaths increased 54 percent between 2011 and 2012. • According to a February 2014 report by the NIDA, each intravenous heroin user who contracts a liver disease known as hepatitis C is likely to infect twenty other people.

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