Teenage Addiction: The Consequences of Teen Heroin Use

Heroin has become an epidemic among young men.

A star athlete, an honor student, a son, a brother, a nephew; he’s outgoing and charismatic; he has a bright future ahead of him and on a probable path to college or university. What have I become? What’s happened to me? You’ve discovered he’s using Heroin. Does this sound familiar?   All across America in quiet, charming suburban towns, that are generally more concerned with SAT scores, Saturday baseball games and the lines at Starbucks, heroin is making its devastating mark within the community. Heroin isn’t at all what it used to be. It is no longer concentrated in urban American cities, nor is it limited to the dirty needle in the back alley. It is more potent than ever, coming in sometimes close to 90 percent purity. To put that into perspective, in 1980 heroin was only showing up around the country at about 4 percent pure. This increase in potency has been the catalyst to many overdoses and deaths. Heroin has become an epidemic among young men. It is showing up at alarming rates from ages 17 to 25. Since 2007 the number of heroin users in that age group has doubled.   Signs of Teen Heroin AbuseSo how does this happen?  How does a young man with an affluent upbringing and all the opportunity in the world available to him find himself addicted to heroin?  Let’s start with a sports injury, or a seemingly harmless invite to experiment with a pill at a party after a few beers, or quite possibly teenage curiosity garnered from your own medicine cabinet. In 100 percent of the stories it never starts out going directly to Heroin; it starts with a prescription pain pill. In 2011 it was reported in the United States, a country of nearly 312 million people, 210 million prescriptions for opiate medications were written. With that eye opening statistic it is no wonder that our streets are flooded with Opiate pain killers. In spite of the abundance of pain pills in circulation they are still expensive both legally and on the black market which unfortunately pushes the user to seek out a cheaper and more accessible alternative.   This natural progression takes place as a result of physical addiction. The physical dependence sneaks up on the user so quietly they don’t see it coming until it becomes too late. By this time pain pills have become far out of reach economically. The physical addiction demands a daily intake of opiates just to alleviate any of the uncomfortable or painful symptoms of withdrawal.   The user finds themselves facing what appears to be the only option available; Heroin.  Heroin can be found for as cheap as $5 a bag versus pain killers that cost generally $30 a pill.   This is where we say that the individuals thinking process has been essentially hijacked. The neuropathways have been diverted and the chemicals are working on the pleasure center of the brain. The initial introduction of Heroin to the brain produces the Rush, only described as the brain being bathed in Heroin producing an immediate relief of tension. Following right behind that is the high or the nod, which can only be described as a warm, drowsy, cozy state of being.   This leads us into the most critical phase of Heroin addiction. The addict has now begun to burn bridges in his life and has resorted to some criminal activity to support his addiction. Whether it’s stealing from the local store or out of Mom’s purse, it is still criminal in nature and will only get worse. His chances for overdose have now increased to an alarming possibility. It is said that nearly 100 Americans die each day from a drug overdose. Overdosing is now the leading cause of accidental death in America, numbering almost 40,000 per year.   Unfortunately, without significant intervention, recovery rates from heroin addiction are virtually nil.  long term drug rehab seems to be the most effective option, and one which I am a staunch advocate for. Advocating long term drug treatment and teen rehab for a young man ensures the best possible chance at long term  sober living. The professional team at Turnbridge in New Haven Connecticut is amongst the best in the country at treating the young addicted mind. They are expertly trained in how to deal with Heroin recovery. They employ a compassionate and logical approach to help these young men take ownership of their lives again. They help them gain the confidence in better decision making and walk them through the fears of starting a life in recovery. Through learning new life skills and coping strategies these young men become empowered to live a successful sober life one day at a time. I heard a young man say once, “My worst day sober is so much better than my best day getting high”. I couldn’t agree with him more.  Image Credit Image Credit