Long a scourge of the back alleys of American life, heroin is spreading across the country. The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in February underscored a problem many American communities already were combatting, the rising use of _ and deaths from -- heroin.
In a multipart package of stories, photos, graphics and video, The Associated Press examined the personal and financial toll of heroin addiction and efforts to address the growing national concern. Among the findings: The number of heroin users in the U.S. rose to 669,000 in 2012, with the greatest increases among those 18 to 25. First-time users nearly doubled in a six-year period ending in 2012, from 90,000 to 156,000. Numerous states are reporting rising use, overdose deaths or treatment admissions related to heroin.
In Ohio, for example, heroin-related overdoses killed 195 people last year in the Cleveland area, shattering the previous record. In Connecticut, 10,183 people were admitted for treatment for heroin last year at licensed programs, up from 8,954 in 2012 and the highest total in eight years. Heroin-related overdose deaths increased 48 percent in that state. The AP found that treatment options for heroin addicts are limited, however, due to lack of beds, costly rehab and insurance companies often refusing coverage for in-patient treatment.