You’ve probably heard the under-world of drug abuse has taken on a new face over the past decade, with the rise of prescription pill addicts. The story is more nuanced than that. But before looking at the nuance, here are a few surprising facts and a disturbing trend.
•Overdose deaths in King County dropped last year, from 161 to 130. And the most recent state-wide data, from 2009, also showed a drop to 324.
•The top 5 drugs involved in King County’s overdoses were, in order: Prescription opiates (painkillers)-130; Anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications -79; Alcohol -62; Heroin -50; Cocaine -46
•The number of dirty needles exchanged for clean ones in King County more than doubled between 2007 and 2010
Nearly 40% of heroin addicts interviewed at a treatment clinic in King County say they started with prescription drugs first. Other data, from the state crime lab, show drug busts for heroin are on the rise.