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Heroin Use on the Rise, Toxicologist Says

In the wake of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death, Loyola University Health System toxicologist Christina Hantsch, MD, FACEP, FACMT, speaks about the rise she has seen in heroin overdoses in recent years.

“I have seen more fatal and near-fatal cases from heroin overdoses compared with other drugs of abuse,” Hantsch says. “We see the most severe cases in the hospital, so the increase may be indicative of a greater problem in the community."

Hantsch attributes this increase to regional trends and the fact that the drug is relatively inexpensive and highly addictive. This makes relapsing common.

“Those who use heroin can get hooked on the drug the first time they try it,” Hantsch says. “They also often require increasing amounts over time to get high or to prevent withdrawal."

— Source: Loyola University Health System