Pushing cocaine and heroin is like premeditated murder

Harold Mandel's picture
A drug abuser

Drug abuse is a potentially lethal habit. However, in spite of increased awareness of the serious health hazards associated with the use of powerful illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin, their use remains very high. In fact cocaine and heroin are being spread across our schools and elsewhere internationally as if they are healthy free snacks and it's made to appear as they are as tasty and as instantly rewarding to a person's addictive tendencies as fudge brownies. Yet, cocaine and heroin are deadly.

Researchers in Spain studied mortality risk factors and excess mortality in a cohort of cocaine users who were admitted to drug treatment in Spain, reported the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. The researchers assessed mortality risk factors and excess mortality in comparison to the general population in two Spanish sub-cohorts made up of 8,825 cocaine and heroin users (CHUs) and 11,905 only cocaine users (OCUs) who were admitted to drug treatment between the ages of 15-49. An association with higher mortality rates was seen with:

1: Heroin use, among all cocaine users

2: No-regular employment

3: Drug injection (among CHUs and OCUs)

4: Daily cocaine use

5: Previous drug treatment (among CUs)


6: Greater than 10 years of heroin use (among CHUs)

Overall the fatality rate among heroin and cocaine users is about 14 times higher than it is for the general population, reports Plataforma SINC. In this new study risk factors and excess mortality among heroin and cocaine consumers admitted to treatment in Spain was analyzed. The results revealed that the fatality rate among consumers of both drugs is 14.3 times higher than it is for the general population. Among those only using cocaine, the fatality rate is 5.1 times higher.

Gregorio Barrio, who is a researcher at the Carlos III Health Institute in Madrid and one of the authors of this new study, has said, “Death certificates rarely include any reference to these substances in the information contained therein." Barrio explains that this is because very often the immediate cause of death in such cases is cited as being due to an unspecified health problem, such as a myocardial infarction or suicide. These health problems may be caused by factors which are unrelated to drug abuse. Furthermore, when signs of drug consumption before death are revealed during any forensic and toxicological investigations, the original certified cause of death generally goes uncorrected.

In order to quantify the deaths which are related to drug abuse based on general mortality statistics, the researchers compared mortality rates among a group of heroin and cocaine users with the mortality rates of people among the general population of the same age and sex. All the participants in this study were admitted to treatment for psychoactive drug abuse or dependence in Madrid or Barcelona between 1997 and 2007. The participants were all between the ages of 15 and 49.

Barrio said, “This excess mortality may be due to the consumption of cocaine or heroin, but there are also other factors that may be different among the general population and the participants, such as mental disorders, personality traits, social conditions, etc.,” However, overall the excess mortality among abusers of cocaine and heroin was considerable and did not show any signs of decline, therefore suggesting the need for improved treatment and prevention interventions.

Drug abuse is rampant among every sector of our societies. The ease of access to deadly drugs such as cocaine and heroin speaks for how rampant corruption is in our societies with therefore implications for how difficult proper enforcement of drug laws and proper treatment is. These drugs ruin people financially while tearing apart their personal lives and their health. It's not unusual to see once honor students suddenly fall to the bottom of their classes due to abuse of these substances which have been pushed on them by their own classmates and so-called friends.

Once out of school the apparent association between drug abuse, unemployment and high crime rates generally appear compelling. This new research which shows an unusually high death rate associated with the use of these addictive substances implies luring someone into using cocaine or heroin is little different than premeditated murder.

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