Is Heroin Destroying Our Nation’s Youth?

Heroin

Due to the recent passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the increase of heroin use across the country, many public officials are beginning to wonder if the addicting drug has become the new epidemic and are doing their best to stop its rapid rise with our nation’s youth.

The drug has become more popular lately because it is so inexpensive (especially with today’s economy) and can be purchased on the street for as little as $10 to $20.

Investigators say that prescription drug abuse is often a gateway to heroin, and have been encouraging parents to talk to their teens about the risks of heroin use and misusing prescription drugs. Police officials have begun to develop myriad groups (medical professionals, school officials, faith groups, human services personnel and community organizations) to help fight the impact the drug has with adolescents.

It also doesn’t help young naïve teens reject the drug when they hear about celebrities that they admire such as Robert Downey Jr. and Russell Crowe taking part in the addiction. Even Angelina Jolie and Samuel L. Jackson have used heroin at one time or another– so what’s the harm, right?

Unfortunately many adolescents are easily influenced by their famous role models and resort to the “monkey-see-monkey-do” attitude.

Peer pressure and environmental factors can be other motives that lead a teen to use heroin for the first time.

Many turn to the drug because they want to be accepted by their friends and yearn to feel like they belong. Some users who want an escape from depression and anxiety turn to the drug because it gives them a feeling of safety and warmth. Often teens who are “loners” use heroin to fill the void that is present because of the lack of emotional support from their parents at home.

Drug abuse has also been frequently linked to genetics and it has been proven that someone with family members who struggle with mental health problems is at a higher risk of developing an addictive habit.

So what is the answer? How do we prevent our youth from taking part in this growing epidemic?

The first step is educating parents and teens about the drug. Agencies have organized community meetings to educate parents on the street names of heroin, what it looks like and how the habit is supported. Public service announcements have also been implemented in several states including Ohio, which will include personal stories by those who have struggled with heroin.

Furthermore, detoxification is extremely important when dealing with a heroin addict. The earlier the heroin abuse is identified, the more effective the treatment will be on the individual. The main goal of detoxification is to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, helping patients adjust to a drug-free status. Methadone and buprenorphine are medications used to treat heroin addiction, and when combined with behavioral therapies the results can be very successful.

Officials are also cracking down on enforcement and prosecution, clearing the streets of heroin abusers and setting an example for young adults who are considering trying the drug.

These drastic efforts still won’t be able to curb all heroin addicts, but will hopefully decrease the number of users and educate many young people about its terrible life-threatening side effects.

Editorial by Amy Nelson

Sources:

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Cleveland.com

Concord Monitor

The Journal Times

People

Heroin Detox Rehab

4 Responses to "Is Heroin Destroying Our Nation’s Youth?"

  1. Denise   February 17, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I am a recovering addict (Been clean 21 months) and addiction is a disease. There is no one to blame on the addiction, but the disease itself, but there are reasons why the addiction accelerates. For me it began with two alcoholic parents that didn’t want me to an abusive husband. No I do not blame either of those parties for the addiction itself, but for my situation the feelings that resulted from these relationships were “enablers” to help my addiction along. The disease of addiction is very serious and very misunderstood by the general public. I am not proud to be an addict, but I am very proud to be a recovering addict. I do not blame anyone for what I did while I was using. That is on me, but for those of us that accept that we have this disease and do something to get better I feel the general public still looks down on us, because they don’t understand the disease.

    So while I was never a heroine user, I don’t feel that this drug is anymore dangerous than anything else out there. It’s just cheaper and more accessible, so it’s the “drug of the moment”. It was bath salts 6 months ago. It will always be something.

    Reply
    • pat   February 17, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      Since you don’t see drugs or a particular drug as a problem you will never be free of them. I head on a commercial a person say. I use to be a addict but now I’m not.

      You are all ways an addict. With support you can get better.

      Reply
  2. pat   February 17, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Drugs destroy lives. You may live but it is not a life. If a child is involved then their life is forever altered. If you say I can handle it you lie. I do not do drugs. But I have seen the results ..

    Reply
  3. Linda   February 17, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Please do not state that they “use heroin to fill the void that is present because of the lack of emotional support from their parents at home.” My son is a heroin addict (trying to recover) and has been for 2 years. By blaming the parents you shift the blame away from the addict. I have met many addicts who have horrible homes lives and many that
    have warm, loving home enviorments. While there are many factors that lead to drug addiction, blaming the parents or anyone else is ridiculous.

    Reply

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