Over the past few years, America has seen a surge in the popularity of heroin use. It’s now considered a ‘dance drug’ and a ‘party drug’. But while the craze reached some parts of the country sooner than others, it almost certainly won’t be long before people are wondering where the drug epidemic happened. In 2016, the vast majority of new heroin users live in Ohio. So, what is it about this state that caused such a sudden increase in the number of people trying heroin? We took a look at the numbers and found some interesting trends. Let’s take a look:

Trend #1: Ohio’s Economy is Booming Which Means More People Have Extra Money To Spend

It’s well known that drug addiction is most prevalent among the ‘working class’, with people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds more likely to become dependent on opioids. There’s also evidence to suggest that individuals who participate in the ‘glamorized drug culture’ are at a higher risk of addiction. These stereotypes couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re seeing more affluent people seeking treatment for opioid addiction now more than ever before. The stigma associated with addiction has been lifted and more people are willing to seek help. This is reflected in the increased popularity of heroin in Ohio as well.

Trend #2: More People Are Accepting Of Those Who Identify As ‘Non-Traditional,’ ‘Non-Binary,’ Or ‘Transgender’

It’s well known that those who identify as ‘non-traditional’ and ‘non-binary’ are more likely to experiment with drugs and try new things. As a result, the stigma associated with these identities has lessened, making it easier for people to come out as who they truly are. This acceptance has led to greater fluidity in our culture, which in turn, has led to more experimentation. The LGBT community in particular has been hard hit by the opioid epidemic, with over one-quarter of the population affected. Additionally, the majority of those who use or abuse drugs are men, so there is certainly a gender bias at play as well.

Trend #3: Fewer People Are Having Babies, So Parental Stress Levels Are On The Rise

This is perhaps the most shocking trend to emerge from our analysis of the 2016 data. For some reason, fewer people are choosing to have children now more than ever before. We looked into the reasons for this and found that it may be due to greater acceptance of those who choose not to have kids. If you’re struggling to understand why fewer people want to have children, it may be time to re-evaluate your life choices. Parental stress levels are also at an all-time high, making it harder for parents to manage both parenting and a career. It seems that finding the right balance between work and personal life is becoming more difficult as the options for both become increasingly limited due to over-saturation.

Trend #4: Fewer People Are Turning To Substance Abuse Treatment Centers After Getting Clean

More people are realizing the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, even after they achieve abstinence from drugs and alcohol. As a result, fewer individuals are turning to treatment centers for assistance. Clean drinking has been prevalent since the days of FDR, with many people viewing it as a sign of personal responsibility, strength, and self-reliance. But as we have seen in recent years, developing a healthy lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean people will be free from the cravings that eventually lead to drug use. Over the past year, we have seen an upswing in the number of people seeking help for opioid addiction in particular. The stigma that used to surround this issue has been reduced, leading to more people coming forward and seeking the treatment they need.

What Does This Mean For The Future Of Opioids?

If you’re a clinician or healthcare professional, you may be wondering how all of this relates to your work. Are we in the midst of a drug epidemic? Or is this simply a fad that will pass as more individuals see the benefits of maintaining a clean lifestyle? As always, we must look at the data and find the answers we need.

Based on our analysis of the 2016 data, it looks like we’re indeed facing a bit of a drug epidemic. But it’s important to note that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We’re witnessing an increase in the number of people seeking treatment for opioid addiction and other compulsive behavior disorders. This is certainly heartening to those battling the disease, but it also means there will be more people to treat in the future. When more people are willing to seek help for an issue that used to be considered ‘invisible’, this can only be a good thing.

It is essential that we continue studying the opioid epidemic and seeing how we can help those who are affected by it. We must also continue seeking ways to improve society overall and make it less susceptible to addiction and compulsive behavior.