A guide to realizing if
your child is at-risk, displaying
self-destructive behaviors, and
needs your help and intervention.
Is my teen's BEHAVIOR just normal teenage rebellion?
What are the DRUGS THAT TEENS ARE ABUSING?
What are the WARNING SIGNS
Where can I find a reliable ALCOHOL & DRUG TESTING KIT?
What are the signs of STEROID ABUSE?
What is SUDDEN SNIFFING DEATH?
How can I help my ADDICTED TEEN?
Heroin Abuse & Addiction
Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive drug. It is both the most abused and the most rapidly acting of the opiates. Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy plants. It is typically sold as a white or brownish powder or as the black sticky substance known on the streets as "black tar heroin."
Although purer heroin is becoming more common, most street heroin is "cut" with other drugs or with substances such as sugar, starch, powdered milk, or quinine. Street heroin can also be cut with strychnine or other poisons. Because heroin abusers do not know the actual strength of the drug or its true contents, they are at risk of overdose or death. Heroin also poses special problems because of the transmission of HIV and other diseases that can occur from sharing needles or other injection equipment.
Heroin is usually injected, sniffed/snorted, or smoked. Typically, a heroin abuser may inject up to four times a day. Intravenous injection provides the greatest intensity and most rapid onset of euphoria (7 to 8 seconds), while intra-muscular injection produces a relatively slow onset of euphoria (5 to 8 minutes). When heroin is sniffed or smoked, peak effects are usually felt within 10 to 15 minutes. Although smoking and sniffing heroin do not produce a "rush" as quickly or as intensely as intravenous injection, NIDA researchers have confirmed that all three forms of heroin administration are addictive.
Injection continues to be the predominant method of heroin use among addicted users seeking treatment; however, researchers have observed a shift in heroin use patterns, from injection to sniffing and smoking. In fact, sniffing/snorting heroin is now a widely reported means of taking heroin among users admitted for drug treatment in both metropolitan and suburban areas.
With the shift in heroin abuse patterns comes an even more diverse group of users. Older users (over 30) continue to be one of the largest user groups in most national data. However, there has been an increase in new, young users across the country who are being lured by inexpensive, high-purity heroin that can be sniffed or smoked instead of injected. Today, the average addict is a white, middle-class teenager.
Signs of Heroin Abuse
Constricted, pinpoint pupils
Constipation; use of laxatives
Nodding-out (with increased activity level before)
Taking long naps and lots of them
Track marks on arms
Itching and scratching
Cessation of menstruation
Finding spoons with burn marks
Disappearance of spoons
Foil & gum wrappers with burn marks
Missing shoelaces (used as a tie off for injecting heroin)
Bottles of vinegar and bleach (used to clean needles)
Sticky bits of tar-like substance
by Robert and Linda Waxler
Jonathan Waxler died at the age of 26 of a heroin overdose following a long struggle with heroin addiction. The Waxlers have chronicled the tragically short life of their son, as well as the long grieving process they endured in this powerful and beautifully written memoir. Losing Jonathan is both a comfort and a wake-up call to parents everywhere about the overwhelming dangers of any addiction.
by Craig Nakken
Deadly $2 heroin targets teens ~ "Cheese heroin" is a blend of so-called black tar Mexican heroin and crushed over-the-counter medications that contain the antihistamine diphenhydramine, found in products such as Tylenol PM, police say. The sedative effects of the heroin and the nighttime sleep aids make for a deadly brew.
Face of Heroin: It's Younger and Suburban; Cheaper Versions Reach Youths Who Haven't Seen the Drug's Damage ~ With heroin cheaper than ever, suburban teens say that a bag supplying a single potent high averages about $10, or less than the cost of a movie ticket with popcorn.
Heroin in America ~Cheap and very pure heroin is creating a growing addiction crisis across America. Today, the average addict is a white, middle-class teenager.
Middle-class, teen-age heroin addicts testify before Senate ~ Recovering teen-age heroin addicts and their relatives are talking about how the drug has moved into the middle-class suburbs with devastating effects.
Nonmedical Oxycodone Users: A Comparison with Heroin Users ~ The prevalence of lifetime nonmedical use of oxycodone increased significantly from an estimated 11.8 million users (5.0 percent) in 2002 to 13.7 million users (5.8 percent) in 2003. The estimated prevalence of lifetime heroin use from 2002 to 2003 did not change (1.6 percent).
Not In My House ~ From initial denial, to acknowledgement of a problem, to empowerment, action and eventual healing, this site helps those affected move through the process of recovery and provides support, information, and links to resources.
Opiod Abuse ~ Most people who are new users of heroin are younger than 26 years.
Zach's Story ~ This is the story of Zachary, a talented young man raised in a loving family in rural Ohio. who started using drugs and died of a heroin overdose.
© Focus Adolescent Services