Heroin is becoming a serious epidemic in Indiana. Experts say that with high costs and limited availability of prescription painkillers, many pill-popping Hoosiers are making the switch to smack.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration in Indianapolis, there has been a considerable upsurge in heroin cases across Indiana. "One of the root causes of the increase is the significant abuse and diversion of prescription painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone in Indiana," said DEA Special Agent Dennis Wichern. Heroin is cheaper and easier to get than ever been before, he said.

Both the Indiana Health Department and the Indiana University for Health Policy agree. Throughout the past decade, the state agencies have noticed an incredible spike in heroin addiction… most of which are people over the age of 45. However, they say there has been an influx in younger heroin users, with the 25-35-year-old demographic more than quadrupling since 2001.

Interestingly, while heroin was used predominantly by blacks in 2005, recent state health department statistics show more whites are now using the drug.

Of course, overdose deaths are a major concern. Just last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved an at-home heroin antidote kit that can be used to reverse the effects of opiates. The device called Evzio will be available with a prescription and is used to administer the drug naloxone, which counteracts the slow breathing that accompanies opiate overdose and often leads to death.

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