The Florida Medical Examiners Commission has reported a 124% increase in the number of heroin deaths in Florida between 2013 and 2014.  The 447 persons who died with heroin in their system represent an almost eight-fold increase over the 57 heroin deaths in 2011.  Heroin was considered the cause of death in 92% of the 2014 heroin deaths.  Half of the heroin deaths occurred among those below the age of 35.  At least one other drug was detected in all but 9 of the heroin decedents.

National studies reveal the rapid growth of new heroin users is occurring among young adults 18-25 years of age with most being addicted to a prescription opioid prior to initiation of heroin use.  Despite the dangers associated with heroin, its use has increased to an estimated 435,000 current users in 2014 among the US population aged 12 and above.

The areas in Florida with the highest number of heroin deaths include Orlando, Palm Beach County, Sarasota, Tampa, and Miami.  The lowest per capita rates of heroin deaths were in the Northeast and Northwest Regions.

More information is provided at the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association website:

A critical factor in the escalation of heroin deaths both nationally and in Florida is that the drug is now often laced with the powerful opioid, fentanyl, generally produced in clandestine labs from Mexico or China.