Recent surveys indicate that drug use among teenagers is going down in several categories. While this is great news, there are still millions of teenagers who are abusing drugs and continue to experiment with harder, more dangerous substances like heroin.
For families that are dealing with a teenager who has a heroin addiction, it is often difficult to understand why they are abusing the drug in the first place. With all the education, public service announcements and the amount of people who die from heroin overdoses, most teenagers should be terrified to get wrapped up in an opiate-based drug. Unfortunately, many of them are not deterred from trying and subsequently becoming addicted to heroin, which often starts out by experimenting with prescription painkillers.
“Heroin seemed glamorous at first. I thought the lifestyle was cool. But I ended up with no friends and got really, really depressed,” explained Gwyn, a teenager who is currently in rehab addressing her heroin addiction.
For many young people, rebelling is part of growing up, but some take it to an entirely different level. Experimenting with drugs often starts because drugs are forbidden, teenagers are enticed into trying something that they have been warned against, but that offers a physical and mental euphoria. Young people have a difficult time understanding the future consequences of their immediate actions, and therefore get caught up in harmful or dangerous behaviors.
In addition to the allure of drugs, teenagers are often struggling with conflicting emotions, physical changes and peer pressure. Many children who are in junior high or high school experience insecurities that drugs promise to cover up, even if only temporarily. Unfortunately, a lot of young people who start using heroin become addicted to the drug, and some even suffer from fatal overdoses.
“People need to understand that the teenagers dying from heroin overdoses are not junkies in the gutter. They’re just normal kids who couldn’t stop using,” says Naomi, another teenager who checked into rehab when she realized she had a problem with heroin.
Heroin abuse among teenagers is a problem that should be addressed immediately. For some teens, like Gwyn and Naomi, rehab is the answer. For others, more education and prevention methods can be useful forms of early intervention before a more serious addiction is created.