heroin use among non-Hispanic whites increased 75 percent in the three-year period between 2008 and 2011, compared to the period between 2002 and 2004.  

The increase, researchers noted, was parallel to the proportion of non-Hispanic whites using prescription opioids for more than 100 days in the past year.

In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on trends among heroin users in the U.S. between 2002 and 2013, based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.The agency found that past-year heroin use among non-Hispanic whites increased 114 percent between 2002 and 2013.

The main reason heroin abuse has front-page news across the country in recent years is because of this shift, according to the founder of the Solace Foundation of Orange County Aimee Dunkle, who lost her son Benjamin to a heroin overdose, in 2012.

“We’re now talking about it because the middle-class white kids are dying,” Dunkle said. “But the truth is, thousands and thousands of people died before Ben, and it makes me uncomfortable we’re talking about it because the white middle-class kids are dying. Our jails are full of people because of this failed war on drugs.”