Illinois Researchers Say Heroin Use Increasing Among Young Adults

Aug 31, 2012

A new study says heroin use among young adults in Illinois continues to be a problem. The findings was issued this week by Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy. It says heroin-related treatment in Illinois emergency rooms increased 27 percent for people age 20 or younger between the years 2008 and 2010. The study says the pattern can also been seen at the national level. 

Kathie Kane-Willis is the consortium's director. She says one of the main areas of concern is young white users.

"Because the young white users tend to not be concentrated in central cities, they tend to be in the suburbs and rural areas, the people they first use with are also experimenting. So they don't have any kind of idea of what heroin dependency or addiction looks like" Willis said.

The study recommends creating more awareness for parents and the general public by providing specific details about the dangers of heroin. 

Researchers also say while African Americans comprised 60 percent of treatment admissions for heroin in Illinois, they did notice a decrease in African Americans entering treatment.

Willis notes that while their Illinois research focused on the greater Chicago-area, other parts of northern Illinois are not immune to the heroin trend among young adults.