Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Heroin addicts die young

I am 62 having been born at the end of 1945 so I was struck by a pie chart in the June, 2008 issue of NIDA Notes about the premature deaths of Male Heroin Abusers who were mandated for treatment by courts between 1962 and 1964 when their average age was 25.

By 1997, 35 years later, 282 of the 581 men in the study were dead at an average age of 47 which is 18 years less than their hypothetical life expectancy of 65.

The largest cause of death was heroin for 22% and chronic liver disease for 14%.

Having been in the behavioral health field now for 40 years, I have noted, that people who started drinking and drugging in their teens are either dead or in recovery by 50. Turns out that my clinical observation is pretty well substantiated by the data.

The idea that substance abuse is a terminal disease is borne out by the facts. Our services at GCASA are saving lives let alone signicantly improving the quality of life for those who participate in GCASA's services.

Here is the chart in NIDA Notes.

Click on image to enlarge for easier reading.

Video lasts 0:30

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