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Marijuana, LSD Use Up Among Miami-Area Students; Adult Heroin Deaths Continue to Rise


February 1993

Heroin now rivals cocaine as the leading cause of drug-related overdose death in the general population of Miami, Florida's Dade County, long known as the U.S. cocaine capital (Donna Gehrke, "Heroin Use Continues Rise in Dade: Drug Now Rivals Cocaine in Deaths," Miami Herald, 1/28/93, 1B).

Heroin overdose killed 20 Miami-area residents in 1992, only two less than those dying from cocaine overdose, according to the Dade County Medical Examiner. Most of the heroin victims died from intravenous overdose.

While the use of heroin continued to rise in the general population, a 1992 survey of high school students showed heroin and cocaine use remained about the same, while use of marijuana rose from 15.8 percent of students surveyed in 1991 to 19.2 percent in 1992, and use of LSD from 3.9 percent of those surveyed in 1991 to 5.6 percent in 1992.

Ironically, according to Allan Rosenbaum of Florida International University's School of Public Affairs, the intense national campaign against cocaine may have encouraged use of heroin, which was practically nonexistent in the Miami area until the 1990's. There were no overdose deaths from heroin from 1985 to 1989. But in 1991, 15 people died from heroin overdose.