Across all demographic groups in the US, heroin use is rising, according to the CDC. Heroin overdose death rates jumped from 0.7 deaths to 2.7 deaths per 100,000 population, with a near doubling of the rates from 2011–2013.
Within the data, new demographic patterns emerge, including greater heroin use among women. In a piece for the Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance rounds up an assortment of studies to get to the bottom of the trend. Recent data, she writes, show that women tend to become dependent on drugs, find it harder to quit and are more susceptible to relapse than men, but they tend to take smaller doses—possibly explaining why men are more likely to die from overdoses.
The CDC surmises that people might be opting for heroin as a cheaper substitute to prescription pain pills, given that nearly ½ of heroin users also reported addiction to opioid painkillers.