Raising Awareness That Opioid Abuse May Lead To Heroin Addiction

Raising Awareness That Opioid Abuse May Lead To Heroin Addiction


Adopted at the 121st Annual Conference

Orlando, Florida

October 21, 2014


Raising Awareness That Opioid Abuse May Lead To Heroin Addiction

Submitted by: Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs Committee



WHEREAS, in 2010, enough opioid pain relievers were sold to medicate every adult in the United States continuously for one month, reflecting a 300 percent increase in the sales rate of opioid pain relievers over an 11-year period of time; and


WHEREAS, prescription drugs are commonly the first drug abused by new initiates of illicit drug abuse; according to National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data, of the estimated 2.9 million new illicit drug users in 2012, more than 1 in 4 initiated with non-medical use of prescription drugs, second only to marijuana; and


WHEREAS, the estimated number of emergency department visits for non-medical use of prescription opiates/opioids increased 81 percent between 2007 and 2011; and the number of (non-heroin) opiate-related treatment admissions to publicly-funded facilities increased 89 percent from 2007 to 2011; and


WHEREAS, in 2010, opioid pain relievers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone were involved in more than 16,600 overdose deaths—approximately 45 Americans every day; and


WHEREAS, in 2010, the number of opioid overdose deaths was approximately 4 times greater than the number of overdose deaths occurring just a decade earlier in 2000; and


WHEREAS, in 2010, opioid pain relievers were involved in nearly 17,000 deaths, and approximately 4,400 drug poisoning deaths resulted from heroin overdoses in 2011; and


WHEREAS, drug overdose deaths, including those from prescription drugs, has surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of injury death in the United States; and


WHEREAS, there has been a troubling increase in the number of people using heroin, from 373,000 past users in 2007, to 669,000 in 2012; and


WHEREAS, data from the NSDUH collected annually from 2002 through 2011 reveals that the heroin incidence rate was 19 times higher among those who reported prior non-medical pain reliever use than among those who did not; and

WHEREAS, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has found that 4 out of 5 heroin initiates previously used prescription pain relievers for non-medical purposes; and


WHEREAS, because prescription pain pills cost $20 to $60 each while heroin costs $3 to $10 a bag, opioid abusers are increasingly moving to heroin as their drug of choice; and


WHEREAS, prescription drug availability in many areas has been curbed by enforcement and legislative action, opioid abusers are switching to heroin as availability is increasing; and the reformulation of OxyContin, making it more difficult to abuse, has led some opioid abusers to seek heroin as an alternative; and


WHEREAS, naloxone hydrochloride (hereinafter naloxone), an opioid antagonist, has successfully helped to reverse the potentially fatal respiratory depression caused by overdoses due to heroin, morphine, oxycodone, methadone, hydrocodone, codeine, and other opioids; and


WHEREAS, the use of naloxone by appropriately trained first responders and law enforcement officers to prevent the immediate loss of life due to an opioid overdose is encouraged. However, the use of naloxone cannot alleviate the long-term health and social consequences associated with opioid addiction or eradicate the crime that often supports an addict's drug habits; and


WHEREAS, the best approach to fighting opioid addiction, overdose, and death remains prevention through education, treatment, and vigorous law enforcement; and therefore, be it


RESOLVED, that the International Association of Chiefs of Police duly assembled at its 121st Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, 2014, urges the law enforcement community to continue to emphasize the importance of education, treatment, and vigorous law enforcement as the primary tools for combatting opioid addiction, overdose, and death within our communities, while at the same time encouraging the use of naloxone to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses when required to save lives.



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