While all drug addiction is dangerous, the rise of heroin addiction among young people has been rather alarming. The increases have been occurring mostly in suburban areas where kids and teens started their addiction to opioids on prescription drugs like Oxycodone and gradually made their way to heroin as a result. This extremely addictive opiate has a long-lasting track record of being one of the hardest drugs to get off and stay off - often times resulting in a secondary addiction to the taper-off drug methadone.
Heroin, which used to be known as a “street drug” in the inner city is now commonplace in suburbs all over the country. Increases in hospitalizations from overdose and overdose deaths have made this issue something that is being pushed in front of local law enforcement agencies as well as something that is getting attention on the national agenda. One expert says that in most cases, youth using heroin, get their start using prescription pain medication and then graduate and get addicted to heroin.
Heroin is no joke and in some of the cases I have worked with, young men and women only around the age of 20 have struggled with the drug for 2-8 years. Getting off and staying off heroin is extremely difficult but can be done and is ultimately so worthwhile. A study from SAMHSA in 2012 showed that experimentation with heroin rose 80% in minors ages 12-17, and since just a decade ago heroin related deaths are up over 200%.
Additional efforts are now being made to help educate youth about the dangers of heroin and heroin addiction. Heroin use also lends itself to increases in crime including theft and violent crimes as well as increased numbers of people driving under the influence and possession. Fighting the heroin epidemic means staying vigilant and engaging in prevention to help curb it’s power. We can make a difference in the fight against heroin addiction.
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Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.