Medicine: The New Math of Addiction

How do authorities arrive at heroin addiction figures? They count known habitual users, of course, such as those who are arrested and those who sign up for treatment programs. But such figures account for only a fraction of the addict population. To arrive at an overall estimate, officials in many cities project from the number of overdose deaths, one commonly used criterion being 200 addicts for each fatality. A new study in Washington, D.C., indicates that because some overdose deaths have gone undetected, the number of active users may be even higher than previously estimated.

Dr. Robert DuPont of Washington's Narcotics Treatment...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!