SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Heroin use among people arrested last year in the region reached its highest level since officials started keeping track in 2000,
the San Diego Association of Governments reported Thursday.
The local increase in abuse of the opiate, discovered in a broader study of people arrested in 2014, mirrors a sharp rise nationally that prompted
President Barack Obama this week to order a heightened effort to battle heroin trafficking in the Northeast.
According to the SANDAG data, 15 percent of women and 13 percent of men arrested in San Diego County last year tested positive for heroin or some sort
That compares to a 5 percent rate for all arrestees in 2002, which was far below the percentage found in other large cities at the time. The San Diego
rate is now comparable to other big city metropolitan areas, according to the regional planning agency.
Women reported using the drug almost twice as often -- 15.3 days per week, compared to 8.7.
Among other findings by SANDAG:
-- 20 percent of white arrestees tested positive for heroin/opiates, compared to 9 percent of Hispanics and 6 percent of blacks;
-- 83 percent of those who tested positive for opiates also tested positive for methamphetamine and 46 percent tested positive for marijuana;
-- 72 percent of those who tested positive reported having abused prescription medication in the past, with 88 percent of them saying heroin was a substitute for prescription drugs;
-- 63 percent of heroin users injected the drug, and 43 percent shared their needles;
-- 73 percent of those who used opiates had been homeless at some point in their lives, compared to 58 percent of other arrestees; and
-- 51 percent of the opiate users said they had overdosed in the past, compared to 13 percent of other arrestees.
The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office says heroin is the drug most frequently involved in unintentional deaths in the region since 2005-06, according to SANDAG.
The study was the result of interviews with 100 heroin users and 646 arrestees who did not test positive for the drug.
A San Diego hiker who was rescued last Thursday after being stranded in Joshua Tree for five days shared his incredible story of survival.
Adam Shacknai was on the stand Monday, as testimony continued in the wrongful death lawsuit of Rebecca Zahau.
Monday was a special day for some local students. They were sporting new school shirts which they got to design themselves, all thanks to the Larry Himmel Neighborhood Foundation.
A motorist lost control of her car on a South Bay street Monday, sending it crashing into four other vehicles before overturning and coming to rest upside down in the roadway.
Jurors deadlocked Monday in the retrial of an oft- deported Mexican citizen accused of driving drunk and causing a hit-and-run crash that seriously injured a 6-year-old boy in San Ysidro.
As the school year progresses, now is the time parents are thinking about what to do with their kids over the summer break.
Young people are making a huge difference in our community. Kids4Community founder Kenan Pala, 14, is putting together, with a group of teen volunteers, the Bright Futures 5K.
Get your kids in the kitchen with you! Cafe 21 will host a kids’ cooking and craft class Thursday, March 22nd to celebrate Easter and spring.
Caltrans is undertaking a six-week experiment on eastbound state Route 78 in Vista to study whether getting motorists to slow down could actually speed up their commute.
A warming trend that began Sunday in most of San Diego County will continue Monday with dry and warmer weather expected to continue until the middle of this week.