First of all, a trend has been growing over the last few years in suburban America. Teen heroin use is on the rise. Most people think of heroin addiction as a problem relegated to the inner cities. But the prescription drug epidemic has pulled heroin out of the urban sector and into suburbia. Therefore, parents must be vigilant.
What do prescription painkillers and heroin have in common? Both substances produce a similar high. The active ingredients in both are a class of chemicals known as opiates, which are derived from the opium poppy. The common progression towards teen heroin use starts out with prescription painkillers. In many cases, teens start abusing these drugs by taking them from the medicine cabinets of family or friends. Some teens also are prescribed the drugs legitimately by a doctor after an injury, and then become addicted due to habitual use.
Teen Heroin Use and Addiction Continue to Rise
Many experts see this problem exploding quickly in suburban areas. This demographic is covered by insurance in large numbers. Health coverage means more seek medical care and receive potentially addictive drugs. Furthermore, the leftover pills become a prime danger for sowing the seeds of a hardcore opiate addiction.
Around the country, states are watching as the number of young people who fall prey to heroin overdose escalates each year. In Ohio, for example, the Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services saw the number of teen deaths due to heroin increase as follows:
- 2010: 14 deaths
- 2011: 31 deaths
- 2012: 55 deaths
- By February of 2013: 14 deaths (on track to reach 84 deaths by year’s end)
Given the extremity of the problem, we must take proactive steps. Without such action, the overdose rates will continue to rise. As a nation, we cannot afford more senseless deaths. In the impressive light of the rehab services available, the tools to succeed are available. Indeed, teens no longer need to die.
For example, Newport Academy helps many teens with opioid use disorder. By applying holistic services, we show teens in danger a new way to live. Hence, many teens simply need to know that there is another path to take. They desire freedom from drug abuse and the threat of addiction. Given the opportunity, most teens embrace recovery. Still, heroin and opioids continue to invade both the big cities and the surrounding suburbs.
Suburban Communities Nationwide Are Creating Heroin Addiction Awareness Campaigns
The state of Illinois is not immune to this movement of heroin into the suburbs. McHenry County is preparing a community forum to address this problem called “Heroin in Our Community.” The program is aimed at educating parents in the Chicago area. The key is ensuring they know that the suburbs are experiencing a huge upswing in teen heroin use.
Chris Gleason, a substance abuse treatment professional, sums up the problem. “[Heroin addicts] have similar stories and pathways to how they got where they are. And almost all of them say they started with prescription drugs and then ended up on heroin.”
If your teen is struggling with a prescription opiate or heroin addiction, you are not alone. Contact us at Newport Academy today and discuss options for support and potential treatment.
Image courtesy of Alex Jones via Unsplash.