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Heroin Use on the Rise in Lane County

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EUGENE, Ore. — A recent report says heroin use is up in Oregon and the same goes for Lane County.

The HIV Alliance and the Lane County Methadone Treatment Program say they’ve seen a spike.

Leaders of the HIV Alliance, a program providing support and education on HIV, and organizer of a needle exchange, say in the last year, the number of heroin users has increased by 50 percent.

They say the face of heroin is changing to a much younger crowd.

They say they’ve seen a spike in the 18 to 30 year-old group which is also in line with what leaders with the Lane County Methadone Treatment Program are seeing.

They say people on their waiting list typically have to wait five months before they can be seen for treatment.

Prevention leaders say there are a number of reasons why the numbers are up.

“They’re not using drugs because they want to use drugs. They’re using drugs because there are other things that are not being paid attention to in terms of health. We have gradually defunded mental health programs,” said HIV Alliance Prevention Manager, Paul Homan.

Right now the HIV Alliance is applying for a federal grant, with the support of Lane County, which would help fund research and outreach programs in order to help the 18 to 30 year-old age group.

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