We’ve been alarmed to see the trend of OxyContin addicted teens turning to heroin in the United States. Heroin has been a devastating drug of addiction for over 50 years in the U.S. but recently the prescription medication epidemic has witnessed heroin invading more upscale suburban neighborhoods.
Suburban Teens Turning to Heroin
A “fix” of heroin can cost as little as a fancy coffee at Starbucks and suburban teens in NY State say that it’s easier to score a bag of heroin than to get a 6 pack of beer.
• In suburban Nassau County NY, 25 people died from heroin overdoses during the first 6 months of the year – that’s almost double the 27 that died during the whole year in 2007.
• The Blue Hills Substance Abuse Services Center in Hartford reports that nearly 30% of young people coming in for treatment this year have heroin addictions, up from a norm of about 10% in previous years
• At Daytop New Jersey, (a teen drug rehab) 40% of teens coming in now have heroin addictions, about double what’s been seen in past years
Experts say that the heroin flooding middle class suburban neighborhoods is a lot more potent and therefore dangerous than the heroin of the 1970’s. Today, heroin comes as a powder that can be snorted. This appeals to teens and novel users who may be apprehensive of needles. A bag of heroin costs from $5 to $25 and can induce a high that can last from 6 to 8 hours.
Howard Riesel, who heads the adolescent Services Unit at Glen Cove Hospital in Long Island, sums up the situation by saying, “The problem is the kids are using younger and younger. It’s cheap. It’s accessible.”