Posted in Health, Parenting, Teen

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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Posted in Health

The Price of Fame

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I want to discuss the price of fame. It seems to me, in the last couple of years there have been a number of accidental deaths due to overdoses. I blame fame for the deaths of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Heath Ledger, and Michael Jackson.

This photo courtesy of Justin Hoch
http://www.flickr.com/help/photos/#2265887
Link to license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

The reason I blame fame is simple. When you become famous, your privacy’s gone. To me, an outsider looking in, everyone wants a piece of a celebrity. Reporters hound them. They take pictures of their families when they’re having some down time. Just going to the market becomes newsworthy and photographers follow them for the one shot that’s going to make millions. How would you feel if you were running to the market in your sweats, to get your kid some cough medicine, and a mob of photographers were chasing you?

All of this because they’re a great actors or musicians. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to meet George Clooney or Brad Pitt. I’d also love to sit down with Steven King and the members of Rush just to get to know them and pick their brains. However, I would never dream of camping outside their homes just hoping for a picture.

That’s where fame turns ugly, when reporters and photographers make money off a famous face, boundaries get blurred and violated. I understand how some celebrities get so angry; they get into physical altercations with the reporters and photographers who follow them.

Not only do celebrities have to deal with paparazzi following them, they also have to deal with the pressure from the industry. Pressure to look good all the time. Pressure to be better than their last stellar role or album.

It seems like, when you’re a celebrity there’s no time to relax. They work ungodly hours to get a scene right or adhere to a tour schedule. That’s when the need for medication rears its ugly head.

They need it to keep them awake and then they need it to help them sleep. It turns into a vicious cycle. After a while, they’re hooked and in some instances, they need to take more of it to get the same effect.

Their dependency spirals out of control and they’re taking stronger and stronger drugs. In my opinion, this behavior leads to addiction to drugs such as meth and heroin.

So, instead of attaching labels to these people and assigning blame, why don’t we solve the problems that create the addictions in the first place? Why don’t managers create a schedule that allows our celebrities to maintain their health? Why don’t we pass laws that keep the paparazzi away? I know it sounds like a simplistic solution to a complex problem, but it would be a start.

Of course, then there would be the reporters screaming about free press and the public’s right to know, but what about the celebrities’ rights? Don’t they have a right to privacy as well?

Thanks for reading my post today. If you would like to share your ideas regarding this post, leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, Teen

The Drug of Choice among Students Today

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m back today after a couple of weeks of  Blog Hops and Giveaways. It’s good to be back chatting with you!

I was at a Writer’s Group meeting last Saturday. Here’s their  website. http://grandrapidsregionwritersgroup.blogspot.com/

We meet the second Saturday of every month and during lunch, I chatted with a teacher about my Coming of Age Novel I’m writing. While we talked, the conversation turned to the new drug of choice in schools these days.

I was shocked when I learned it was heroin. I was under the impression the drugs of choice among high school and college students were either alcohol or marijuana.

Of course, my next thought was…why heroin? I don’t know about you, but just hearing the name scares me. I’ve heard it’s highly addictive and the withdrawal symptoms are horrendous. Theories as to why are listed below and I got the information from this article:

: http://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/drug-abuse-addiction/heroin-use-back-on-the-rise/

1)    Today’s heroin is purer than that of the past, allowing users to easily hide their habit as they can snort or smoke it rather than inject the drug;

2)    It delivers much of the same effects as legal painkillers, such as Oxycotin;

3)    Is much cheaper – as little as $5 a high

This explains some of it, but when I was a teen (many moons ago) 🙂 heroin was scary. I wouldn’t touch the stuff. Unfortunately, in today’s day and age, heroin has lost its stigma. Teens are taking it even though they know about the addictive properties of the drug. In addition, many who go through the withdrawal symptoms and get clean end up going back on it.

Of course, this didn’t make sense to me. So I did some further research and found this article:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/alphabet-kids/201006/heroin-use-among-suburban-teens-grows-because-its-no-big-deal

According to this article, being a junkie is no big deal. Heroin seems to have made its way up the social hierarchy. It used to be a drug associated with poverty and homelessness. Now teens are seeing its use growing among their peer group.

It’s that old mentality of if my friend thinks it’s okay, then it must be. Couple that with the overwhelming need to fit in and you’ve got a lethal combination. Heroin isn’t scary anymore.

Unfortunately, heroin use is on the rise across the nation. These are not isolated incidents in New York or Chicago. I’ve found articles about it in states like Indiana and Texas as wells as New York and Illinois.

We’ve all heard the teen years are filled with risk taking behaviors. This article certainly supports that claim:  http://www.soberliving.com/blog/why-is-teenage-drug-abuse-on-the-rise

It states, teens have a sense of entitlement and invulnerability that makes them take more risks. Couple that with the fact heroin is much easier to get than alcohol and again you’ve got a lethal combination.

So, what can you do if you suspect your teen has an addiction? You can all this number: 1-866-323-5609. They will be able to help you. Here’s their website: http://www.soberliving.com/

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my article. I’d love to read your thoughts on the subject, so please leave a comment.

Related articles:

https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/ive-got-psychologist-gary-cole-here-and-hes-talking-about-dealing-with-teen-addiction/