Alarm Skyrockets As Use Falls

Reason.com – Hit & Run Blog – “Alarm About a ‘Heroin Epidemic’ Skyrockets As Heroin Use Falls” – Jacob Sullum|Sep. 17, 2014 …

“Yesterday the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the results of the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). As I noted a couple of weeks ago, when SAMHSA gave us a preview of those data, the number of respondents who reported using heroin in the previous month fell by 14 percent last year, despite ever-rising concern about a new “heroin epidemic.” While NSDUH probably misses a substantial number of heavy users (exactly how many is unclear), the trends identified by the survey still should indicate whether heroin consumption is on the rise or on the wane (as both government officials and journalists tend to assume). Hence it is instructive to compare past-month heroin use measured by NSDUH (in thousands of users) with mentions of a “heroin epidemic” in the newspaper and wire service articles collected by Nexis…”

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