Opioid dependence is more common than many people think. Every year, thousands of people become dependent on prescription opioid pain medication after their medical need for pain relief has passed. Others become dependent from the recreational use of opioids, such as heroin.
No one is immune to opioid dependence. It affects men and women of all ages, races, ethnic groups, and educational levels. According to the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH):
- 4.7 million people aged 12 and older were misusing pain relievers
- 32.7 million people aged 12 and older had used pain relievers for non-medical reasons (i.e., recreational use) in their lifetime
- Approximately 3.5 million people used heroin in 2005.
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