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Topics in Criminal Justice: Heroin and Opioid Addiction Epidemic

What is Heroin Addiction?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heroin is an "illegal, highly addictive opioid drug". Heroin overdoses can and do prove fatal, with other symptoms such as "slow and shallow breathing [and] coma" as additional possible adverse effects. The CDC reports that the incidence of heroin-related overdose deaths has risen at an alarming rate in recent years, with over 8200 heroin-related deaths in the U.S. in 2013 alone and fatality rates that overall quadrupled between 2002 and 2013. In addition to the effects of heroin, other related opioid drugs are also implicated in the issue. According to the New York Times, for example, "nationally, opioids [including heroin] were involved in more than 61 percent of deaths from overdoses in 2014."

Researching the Issue

With discussion of the epidemic popping up in the news both locally and nationally, and impacting this year's election cycle, you might be interested in learning more about this issue, proposed solutions, and the role of law enforcement in policing drug abuse. The library has a variety of resources available to inform your research, in addition to the great variety of documents and reports freely available on the web from government and public health agencies.

Selected Reports on the Web


Books Available at Dewey

Need Additional Assistance?

Don't hesitate to get in touch with Criminal Justice Subject Librarian Cathy Dwyer! Visit during office hours weekly on Mondays, from 5-8pm, or email to set up an appointment or to get help remotely.

Blog Created By: Rebekah Jarvis-Girtler
Image Credit: Hendrike

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