We read a lot today about the heroin epidemic in America, but heroin abuse is now a world wide problem. In Dublin, Ireland heroin addiction is also leaving devastation in its path. According to Style Celebrity News, Laurence Kinlan who plays Elmo on the popular series Love/Hate lost his Dad when he was ten years old from AIDS as a result of a heroin addiction.
In an interview with Brendan O’Connor of the Saturday Night Show, Laurence said, “Dublin city center was just rife with drugs back then, He died in 1993. He got Aids through using drugs. He died when I was 10…. I remember the week when he was dying, he was still trying to crack jokes,” he said of his Dad’s good sense of humor.
Heroin Addicts High Risk for Contracting AIDS
The lifestyle of the heroin addict and the effects of heroin’s continued use are very damaging. Frequent injections can cause collapsed veins and can lead to infections of the blood vessels and heart valves. Heroin and other opiates are the most common drugs that are injected into the body.
Blood transfer through the sharing of intravenous unsterilized needles, carries a very high risk of HIV transmission. Around 30% of the world’s HIV infections outside of sub-Saharan Africa are caused by injecting drugs, and it accounts for an ever growing proportion of those living with HIV. 1 HIV transmission is a risk when taking drugs by means other than injecting, but people who inject drugs have the highest risk of all.
When heroin users share their needles, which they often due, it can lead to AIDS and other contagious infections. Tuberculosis can result from a body racked with heroin use. Arthritis is another long-term result of heroin addiction. It is estimated that of the 35,000 new hepatitis C2 (liver disease) infections each year in the United States, over 70% are from heroin addicts who inject the drug intravenously.
Heroin Overdoses Have Doubled in 2 Years
A new government study says deaths from heroin overdose doubled in just two years in much of the United States. The annual number of U.S. drug overdose deaths has been growing for more than 20 years. Officials have been most worried about a class of powerful prescription “opioid” painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin. Deaths involving such painkillers continue to be much more common than heroin-related deaths, the study found.
But while those deaths are leveling off or declining in many parts of the country, heroin-related deaths soared between 2010 and 2012 in the 28 states for which information was available to the researchers. Heroin overdose deaths rose from 1,779 to 3,665, doubling the death rate to 2.1 deaths per 100,000 people.
The jump in heroin-related deaths is a result of former pain med addicts switching to lower cost and more easily accessible heroin.