The face of the opioid addict is rapidly changing these days as people are getting addicted to opioids through the legal version, then moving to the illegal version because it’s easier to obtain. Opiates and heroin are really moving to the suburbs and affecting groups of people there.

The opioid users of today are more likely to be women, whiter, and older than Americans who used opioids, including heroin, in the past.

People now start using opioids when they’re older

People in the 1960s first used opioids in their teens. Now, they start using opioids later in their 20s.

Opioid addicts are whiter than they used to be

Opioids seemed to afflict nonwhite populations more than white populations during the 1970s. Today, opioids seem to be more popular among white people.

Opioid users are more likely to be women

In the past, initial opioid users were overwhelmingly male. Today, women are slightly more likely to first use opioids than men.

Opioid addicts are starting on prescription painkillers more than heroin

People are a lot more likely to get hooked on prescription painkillers than heroin nowadays. That represents a stark shift from 50 years ago.

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Photo of Jen Simons Family