Parents Beware: Heroin Use Rising Among Teens


The drug that was once relegated to the homeless and rock stars is now popping up at highschool parties in the suburbs.

Heroin's renewed popularity is directly related to the increase in prescription drug abuse.

Millions of American adults and teenagers are addicted to the prescription pain killers vicodin and oxycontin, so much so that they'll do anything to get them -- even kill.

But finding the drugs and paying for them is hard. Sometimes just one pill sells for $80.

So addicts often switch to the pain killer's cousin: heroin, because it's easier to find, cheaper, and packs a bigger punch than prescription pain killers.

"If you hear about something like that, only a 100 times stronger, I can definitely see the appeal," an anonymous heroin addict said.

But the appeal fades quickly, soon it takes more of the drug to get the same high, that feeling that becomes the only thing in life that matters.

"It's horrible, horrible.You just don't want to do it anymore but you just don't really have any choice," the addict continued.

Rehab centers report a rise in heroin abusers, especially ones from middle-class homes because heroin has become more available in places you would never expect.

"It's cheaper for kids, because that's the question you ask, 'Why did you start with heavier drugs than alcohol?' And most of them, they'll tell you it's easier to get than alcohol," Stacie Woodhall, a rehab counselor, said.

Family therapist Linda Mintle said there's only one way to break the bondage of heroin addiction.

"This is not about willpower," she said. "You cannot will yourself off this biological pull that is in the brain."

"So you really need to have something that is bigger than yourself and the transcendent power of God, the relationship with Christ who is in you, who can help you, who can strengthen you to do all things, is absolutely essential in any addiction treatment," she added.

"People will tell you they talk about a higher power but we know that faith in Jesus Christ, who in us, can help us do what seems to be impossible, and resist that pull," she said. "(It is) what brings us out of that type of addiction and into a much freer life."

Mintle also warned that people can die from a heroin overdose the very first time they use it, so it's important that parents talk to their kids about the dangers of heroin.

Meanwhile, experts say parents should also look for signs of addiction: changes in personality, changes in weight, change of friends, drop in grades. The advise to immediately intervene if there are any red flags.

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