Heroin Addiction in Rural America

Heroin Addiction Rates on the Rise in Rural Areas like Ellensburg, WA     photo via

With the rising demand of prescription opioids, supply is down which is causing more people to turn to what is in high supply – heroin.

This trend is especially true among rural communities. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, those who have reportedly used heroin in rural areas has jumped by 53.5%.

Overdoses are said to be on the rise as well because of the inconsistent manufacturing of heroin and multiple suppliers. According to Skip Holbrook, a police chief in West Virginia, the composition of heroin may be 15% pure one day and 60% the next, which he says is “ like playing Russian roulette” because users generally inject the same amount not knowing the purity.

Many addicts end up resorting to heroin after they have developed an addiction to prescription opioids that they can no longer afford in the quantities they need. Addicts also have increasingly limited access because of greater prescribing regulations and law enforcement crackdowns.

According to former heroin users interviewed in Ellensburg, Washington – one of the rural towns with growing heroin problem – drug dealers have been pushing heroin as the lesser expensive choice with the same value high. And many addicts are swayed – as their bottoms continue to get lower. Often, opiate users start off by thinking prescription opioids are ok because they are legal and they say they “would never” use heroin. But after addiction sets in the part of the brain capable of logic and reason is overruled by the innate drive to feed the addiction.

Rural areas like Ellensburg, Washington complain that treatment services aren’t available to meet the rise in heroin addiction. Many complain they have to seek treatment in urban areas far from home. However, this can actually be beneficial to their recovery. Getting out of one’s environment – away from the people, places and things that fuel their addiction– can actually speed the recovery process because there are fewer triggers and means of access to drugs.

That is why here at Synergy Group Services our Florida addiction treatment programs are comprised of clients from all over the US – both rural and urban communities alike. We also have specialized programs for those with prescription opioid and heroin dependence because the abuse of heroin, OxyContin, Roxicet and other opiates has been rampant in Florida as well.

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