Who is the "typical" heroin user?


According to this recently published paper, the typical heroin user in America today is a suburban white woman. This conclusion is based on data from those who enter treatment services over the past 50 years. To be fair, the news article from the link above doesn’t make this distinction that is pointed out in the journal article. Neverless, one must wonder if suburban white women with a heroin problem are just more likely to have access to treatment, or less likely to overdose or prematurely die in order to survive to the point of inclusion in such a study as this one. Data from community based studies that represent the population, such as the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, are needed.

Tennessee just became the first state that will jail women for their pregnancy outcomes

From Salon.com:


“Tennessee has become the first state in the nation to pass a law criminalizing women for their pregnancy outcomes. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam took the 10 days allotted to him to consider the advice of doctors, addiction experts and reproductive health groups urging him to veto the punitive and dangerous measure that allows prosecutors to charge a woman with criminal assault if she uses illegal drugs during her pregnancy and her fetus or newborn is considered harmed as a result. Haslam ignored these recommendations — and the recommendations of nearly every major medical association, including the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy — and signed the measure anyway.”

This is unfortunate. This law has everything to do with moralizing drug behavior rather than the goal of reducing drug use during pregnancy. Otherwise, why limit only to illegal drugs? Why not tobacco and alcohol, which can also damage fetuses? The fact that this law falls the heaviest on poor (and thus, likely minority) women should not be lost either.