Heroin: It’s Not Just for the Dark Alley Anymore

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about something I learned while doing some research for my story. I was shocked and dismayed to hear this and as a parent I’m sure you will be, too.

I learned that Heroin has reached epidemic proportions in our high schools. This stresses me out because I’ve got two young boys who’ll be entering high school in a few years. So naturally, I asked my source, how did this happen? (My source is very reliable and that’s all I can say about that. ;)).

 

Photo credit: Alan Cleaver via Visualhunt / CC BY

 When he told me prescription drugs like OxyContin and Oxycodone, I couldn’t believe it. The kids are either prescribed these pain killers for injuries or surgery, and then they get hooked, or they’re stealing them from their parents and using them to get high. When their bodies become used to these drugs, it takes a stronger dose to get the same effect. At this point, it’s easier and cheaper for the teen to get Heroin than it is to get “Oxy.”

Photo via geralt via Visual Hunt

My source tells me Heroin is so addictive and some people are so vulnerable that it only takes one use to become hooked.  Check out these real life stories of two teens who’ve become hooked on it. http://www.teenvogue.com/story/teen-heroin

Photo credit: danielle.spraggs55 via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Heroin has evolved from the use of a syringe in a dark alley to a pill. That’s right, it’s in pill form called a button. This makes it easier to get, easier to use, and it’s much more powerful (purity is about ninety percent) so the high is that much better. I’ve been told it’s the most relaxing feeling in the world, all your troubles just float away. I can understand why someone would get hooked on that feeling. Especially our young people who are experiencing teen angst and all the pressures of being a teen for the first time. Historically, the average age of a heroin death was between forty and forty five.  Now, the average age is between eighteen and twenty five.

What can we do as parents to prevent this type of addiction from happening?

That’s a good question. First of all, get rid of all the leftover prescription medication you have. Don’t let it sit in the medicine cabinet and if you’re taking some medication, monitor it. Only take what you need and throw the rest away and I don’t mean in the garbage can where young hands can find it, return it to the pharmacy where you bought it and they’ll get rid of it in a manner that’s safe for people and the environment.

Photo credit: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration via Visual hunt

 

The next step is we need to impress upon our medical professionals that they need to monitor their prescriptions. They’re so busy that they overprescribe these pain killers because it’s quicker and easier. I’ve seen this in action myself. I was prescribed Lorazepam during my stint with chemo and ended up taking it when I was finished as a sleep aid.

Later, I found out you’re not supposed to take this drug for the long term, but my doctor’s nurse kept refilling the prescription. Finally, after a year, she stopped and had me start taking Melatonin to help me sleep. I stopped the Lorazepam cold turkey. This isn’t recommended either, but it scared me to think I could be addicted to a drug so I wanted to stop right away. Luckily, I just had a couple of nights where I had insomnia and then my body returned to normal. I’m telling you this story to show you how easy it is to become addicted to a medication. Especially one that has been prescribed for you.

We rely on the medical professionals to guide us in the right direction and for the most part they do, but they’re human just like us and things slip through the cracks.  We must be critical thinkers especially when it comes to our health and our children’s health. We must ask questions and get second opinions. When we’re prescribed a medication let’s make sure we know all the side effects and exactly how long we should be taking it.

Photo via skeeze via Visualhunt.com

Maybe there should be a position in each facility to monitor the prescriptions going out the door. This might not only help the doctors and patients, but it might also create a few jobs. 🙂 How about you? Do you have a solution to this problem? Or maybe you have a story you’d like to share. If so, leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

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About Lisa Orchard

I'm a Young Adult Author with two new series, "The Starlight Chronicles" and "The Super Spies." The first one's a coming of age series and the second one's a mystery/thriller series. I'm also the mother of two boys who keep me hopping and they're my inspiration for everything. When I'm not shuttling my boys to school or a play date, I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hiking, or sometimes running. I love anything chocolate and scary movies too.
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30 Responses to Heroin: It’s Not Just for the Dark Alley Anymore

  1. Bernadette says:

    One of the things you didn’t mention regarding heroin is our country has been flooded with inexpensive heroin that you don’t need to inject via a needle. Therefore our young people do not think it is addictive but consider heroin in the pill form a recreational drug.

    An informed and educated patient is the best patient. I know that most Doctors do not want to over prescribe. They, unfortunately, walk a very fine line. Years ago people suffering in chronic pain (such as cancer patients) were not given sufficient pain medication. Laws were introduced remedying that situation but the laws read that a patient who complains of chronic pain must be given relief. Since pain is so subjective The Doctor is put in a very difficult situation. Prescribe or not prescribe and be sued.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Ahhh…thanks for the info, Bernadette. I appreciate your perspective. I did not know that doctors were being sued for not providing medication. This sheds even more light on the issue. Thanks for the heads up! 🙂

  2. sharonledwith says:

    Great and informative article, Lisa. I had a loved one addicted to cocaine. Not pretty. It took her a while (including two stints in rehab) to kick the habit. When I asked ‘why would you even try that poison?’, she told me it made her feel powerful, that she could do and handle anything. It amazes me how much of a monster she was dealing with. Cheers and try not to worry about your boys, they’ve got a great role model in you! Hugs!

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Awww…thanks Sharon! That’s so sweet. I hear what your friend is saying. It’s hard to give up that feeling of powerfulness or that totally relaxed feeling from the drugs. That’s why addiction is so scary, it’s so hard to quit once you start. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. 🙂 Hugs right back at you!

  3. One correction. DON’T flush medicine down the toilet. Water treatment plants can’t remove the chemicals which form our medication. Flushing them means putting those chemicals into the environment and possibly someone else’s drinking water. Take unused medication to your pharmacy where they will dispose of it safely.

    A couple of observations. One of the best defences agains addiction is a strong social group. Sure, we hear about peer pressure and the rest, but new studies show addiction is directly linked to social isolation. The kid with lots of friends doesn’t need chemicals to have fun.

    It has been also suggested addiction is the result of a learning problem. The addict learns, incorrectly, that drugs make them feel better. They blame the after-affect on normality and keep going back thinking the drug high is the norm. Knowing the down is part of the drug’s affect (like a hangover) helps to maintain a more balance view of reality.

    A bit of hope. The vast majority of people who kick addictions do so without treatment. They ‘age’ out as they get jobs, relationships etc which become more important than the high. What is likely to keep people in addictions is lack of education, work and social groups.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Alex, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you telling me to not flush drugs down the toilet. I didn’t realize that the waste treatment plants couldn’t neutralize them. Thanks for the correction on that, I totally appreciate it. I also appreciate your words of wisdom on addiction. That’s good to know that it’s linked to social isolation. My boys have great friends and I’m going to make sure they maintain those friendships. I appreciate the time you took to respond and sharing your wisdom with all of us. 🙂

  4. Rosie Digout says:

    A few years ago, I was shocked to hear kids in elementary, as young as gr 5 and gr 6 were having pill parties. They would raid parent’s medicine cabinet, meet at a house and throw all the pills in a bowl. A friend of mine is a teacher’s assistant and I astounded that this tiny city of mine (less than 40,000) had an epidemic of drug use in children so young. Like you, I was scared for my kids. But what keeps me going is knowing that my daughters and I talk a lot about everything – current news, drugs, sex, women issues. I feel that as long as our communication is open, they will less likely fall into peer pressure. As well, they are busy with school activities and sports.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      I think you’re on the right track with your girls, Rosie. One person mentioned that there seems to be a link between social isolation and addiction. Since your girls have an awesome relationship with you and are very active, I feel they’re not socially isolated and you won’t have a problem. 🙂

  5. Also, some people are born with an addictive nature, and if they aren’t addicted to heroin then they’re probably addicted to something else.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      I agree with you, Stevie. Addiction is a hard thing to fight and it’s even harder when you have an addictive personality, but there is a lot of help out there for it, too. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  6. Its a tough world for children and parents today and so very different to my youth. Drug addiction including alcohol is a major issue. I don’t think there is an easy answer to it all.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      I agree, Brigid. It is a totally different world and I wish my boys could have the childhood I had because it was so good in so many ways. I also worry about what kind of world we’re leaving for our kids. I’d love to turn it around somehow. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Great post and an important topic but NO-NO-NO on flushing leftover medications down the toilet anymore. It can pollute the water table in dangerous ways – and can also become a danger to wildlife and pets when “seepage” mixes with rain water and is brought to the surface.

    ===>What to do instead with ALL medication for disposal<===
    1. take it back to your doctor(s) – some have safe disposal options already. They need to be thinking in this fashion if they don't, so you do us ALL a favor by asking, even by phone (docs voicemail – not receptionist message, btw)
    If docs won't take them …
    2. seal meds in a baggie mixed with wet coffee grounds or other garbage – crush them up first if you have the time – and throw them out with your messiest garbage.

    Don't let your kids see you do this, for obvious reasons. If they know they're there, some addicts (especially teens) will go after them, even in garbage — but few will dig thru garbage to see IF they're there. When they're older, mature enough to know to avoid addictive substances and need to dispose of medication themselves, that's plenty of time for them to learn about these methods.

    By then, maybe ALL doctors will take them back and safely dispose.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    "It takes a village to educate a world!"

    PS. Got here from Senior Salon

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      You’re so right Madelyn. Another commentor said the same thing. We need to take our leftover medication and take it to the pharmacist. He will dispose of it for you.:) Thanks for stopping by!

  8. This is really upsetting. I do think that besides just keeping medications out of their hands (which only goes so far – after all, they could get them from friends…), if you think a child might want to/feel the need to get addicted, they need a psychologist. Also a loving home, but that’s a different soapbox rant.

  9. Phil Taylor says:

    This is a great post and should be spread far and wide.

  10. Phil Taylor says:

    I will be re-blogging later today.

  11. Phil Taylor says:

    I’m not seeing a re-blog button. Do you have that feature turned off?

  12. Phil Taylor says:

    Reblogged this on The Phil Factor and commented:
    An important story for anyone to read. By Lisa Orchard

  13. Many people (not just our youth) become addicted to narcotics from legitimate prescriptions. As a nurse, I can tell you that nurses don’t refill without authorization from the prescriber and it is definitely easy in a busy practice for continued refills without regard to the long term effects. In Maine we have new laws that restrict the length of time and amount of narcotics that can be prescribed for chronic pain and limit to 7 days’ supply for acute pain. It is good to remove the stigma from addiction to controlled substances and you are absolutely correct; the back alley is not where they most often start. Unfortunately out of desperation this is where so many tragically end up.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      I hear you. And I appreciate you stopping by and sharing your perspective. I know many medical practices get very busy and the staff is overwhelmed. I agree with you that we need to remove the stigma from addiction and educate society so people who do become addicted aren’t ashamed to seek help. Thanks for stopping by, I so appreciate your perspective on this situation. 🙂

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