Heroin was once the drug of choice for the undesirable people of society, so called “junkies”. Now, however, heroin is everywhere. Teens are able to get a huge high costing them as little as $10, or as much as their life. The new heroin addict is a suburban, middle class teen. It seems they start off taking prescription painkillers, moving on to heroin when they struggle to get prescriptions or when they become too expensive. Heroin is cheap and it is readily available and teens are turning to it by their hordes.
According to SAMHSA, use of heroin among 12-17 year olds has risen by 80% in the past 12 years. Furthermore, deaths by overdose are up tremendously. In 1999, there were 198 overdoses in kids between 15 and 24. A decade later, this figure stood at 510 and it continues to rise.
From Pills to Injections
Heroin has been around for many, many years, yet it seems to suddenly have become popular among people who were always believed to be free from the stresses of life that can lead to drug abuse. Although teens have used drugs recreationally for many years, they usually did so in pill form. They believed pills were safe, some of them are even available over the counter. That is a far cry from heating up a drug in a dirty spoon and injecting it into your veins. However, as our drugs are becoming more potent, young people are getting addicted earlier and earlier. Many end up in rehab facilities at a young age.. The step from a prescription drug addiction to a heroin addiction is a very small one.
Many teens report that they got into heroin through exposure by someone else. Very often, they start by injecting immediately, although some will smoke it first. Many find that heroin gives them a more euphoric—and thus addictive—high than the prescription drugs they were taking. The fact that it is also so much cheaper exacerbates this problem. Drug dealers are aware of this and are now targeting younger people, making it even easier to purchase drugs.
The DARE Program
Most kids in our country will deal with the DARE program at some point in their lives, usually during school. However, for all of DARE’s best intentions, most kids find it completely ineffective. They only thing they feel the program teaches them is that “drugs are bad”, but children stubbornly wish to learn through their own experiences. They also still have the youthful sentiment that ‘it wouldn’t happen’ to them. Experts agree that it is very important these types of programs start to focus on where the problem starts: with prescription drugs.
Teenagers themselves feel that prescription drugs are too easy to obtain. It is indeed known that they are over prescribed, and this is also to the detriment of people who genuinely need them. The result is that doctors are now refusing to give those in true, chronic and debilitating pain the drugs they need, when what is required is a monitoring program and system instead.
Finally, some believe that the recession has left a devastating effect on communities that have caused teens to turn to drugs. Libraries are closing down, schools are understaffed and underfunded, buses don’t work and many people are living in poverty. As such, some say that the suburban dream is dead, and that this is why everybody is now able to turn into a “junkie”.
At Creative Care, we believe that teen heroin addiction and young people can be helped and that they can be given the tools to turn their lives around and return to the world as productive members of society. If you are a teen or have a teen who is currently taking prescription medication or who is spiraling into a heroin addiction, please contact us today. The sooner help is made available, the easier it will be to resolve the problem. Furthermore, we help teens not just recover from the physical addiction to opiates, but also the psychological addiction they have by addressing their needs in a heroin treatment program.