Young White Women Using Heroin More Frequently

A new study released by the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy shows a dramatic increase in heroin using among young white women, especially those living in the Chicago suburbs. Despite a 16 percent drop in heroin related deaths overall since 2000, deaths among white women under the age of 35 have increased by 40 percent. Heroin has become so popular that it is now the second most common drug people seek rehab treatment for, after alcohol. The report makes it clear that the face of heroin use has shifted from older, black users in the inner city to young white women in the city’s famously wealthy suburbs.

While women’s drug use has often been ignored, it is clear that it represents just as much of a problem as that of male users (if not more, as women make up a majority of the population). The media typically equates drug use with urban blacks, involved in gangs and prostitution, while often making white people out to be model citizens who want to strictly enforce the “War on Drugs.” If the media does broach …

… white drug use, it is usually in the context of college kids and burnouts smoking pot [Ed. Note: And, uh, meth?], a substance which is often seen as less harmful and socially destructive than “ghetto” drugs like heroin and crack. The truth is, all drugs, legal or otherwise, have the potential to be misused and cause problems and whites, including those in the upper and middle classes, are just as likely to be users. ZL has already covered alcoholism among middle class mothers and it appears that a similar culture of denialism and sweeping under the rug seems to exist around heroin use; society sees mothers as virtuous upholders of family values who would never do anything, consciously or unconsciously, to endanger the welfare of their children. In fact, is the very stresses that these do it all burdens place on women of childbearing age that often lead women to drug and alcohol use in the first place. If we actually want to decrease substance abuse among women, we need to stop with the Dr. Phil public shaming of “real desperate housewives” and offer women the support they need to maintain a healthy work/life/family balance so they do not feel driven to seek dangerous methods to cope with their anxieties.



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3 thoughts on “Young White Women Using Heroin More Frequently

  1. It doesn’t surprise me that the entitled white wealthy kids are able to get their hands on heavy drugs. It also doesn’t surprise me that it’s ignored. Jordan van der Sloot was produced from a similar situation; he had a rich family and his (apparently abundant) crimes just got ignored because he has a rich daddy.

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