Faces of the Latest Addicts: Heroin Users Getting Younger

The following is a guest post by Sue Scheff®, author, parent advocate, and founder of P.U.R.E. (Parent’s Universal Resource Experts, Inc.), an organization helping to connect parents throughout the country that are silently suffering with today’s teens and issues and feel that they are alone in their feelings. It was first posted at Fort Lauderdale Parenting Teens, Examiner.com.

Parents in denial. Teens and heroin, a deadly combination.

Dealers making it easier to smoke, cheaper to purchase, and more potent to be an addict faster.  Heroin is dangerous and deadly and it is a growing concern and trend today.

20/20 ABC News featured an excellent report on this topic.  The New Face of a Heroin Addict, which followed the lives of three average all-American families and their addict. (Watch segment on sidebar).

Since 2007, the number of heroin users in the U.S. has nearly doubled, and half of all first-time users are younger than 26 years old, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

This 20/20 ABC News segment should be an episode that every parent with a young teen should stop and watch.  It clearly shows that no one is immune to becoming an addict – especially a heroin addict.

Parents that belive their teen is “only smoking pot,” listen to these stories – most start out that way.

As the one addict explains, she was quickly addicted after only a very short time.  She thought she was smoking hash, that ended up being heroin, which is highly addictive in comparison to hash.  So this mistake has literally created a junkie.

Look for signs of drug use:

  • Violent outbursts, disrespectful behavior
  • Poor or dropping grades
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Skin abrasions, track marks
  • Missing curfew, running away, truancy
  • Bloodshot eyes, distinct “skunky” odor on clothing and skin
  • Missing jewelry money
  • New friends
  • Depression, apathy, withdrawal
  • Reckless behavior

Do you suspect your teen is using drugs? Don’t be a parent in denial – you are only prolonging your teen getting help and you are actually enabling them to continue this deadly behavior.

When you think, not my kid, think again.  Addiction can happen to anyone – no matter what their background is or their economic status, addiction kills.

If you are concerned your teen is using drugs, be a responsible parent.  If they are under the age of 18 years-old, you can legally get them help without their consent.  Once they are 18 years-old or older, they have to be at a point they want to get help.

Residential therapy is a booming business for many desperate parents seeking help for their at-risk teens, especially when they are at their wit’s end.

Take the time to do your research – visit Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc.  This organization helps educate and guide parents to find safe and quality schools and programs. They are a long standing member of the Better Business Bureau.

Residential therapy is usually considered after parents have exhausted all their local resources.

For those over 18 years old, Broward County offers Broward Addiction Recovery Center.

Stop making excuses and start be a proactive parent.


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Lisa Frederiksen

Lisa Frederiksen

Author Speaker Consultant Owner at BreakingTheCycles.com
Author of nine books and hundreds of articles, Lisa Frederiksen is a national keynote speaker, consultant and founder of BreakingTheCycles.com. She has spent more then a decade researching, writing, speaking and consulting on substance abuse prevention, mental illness, addiction as a brain disease, dual diagnosis, secondhand drinking | drugging, help for the family and related subjects – all centered around 21st century brain and addiction-related research. Her clients (some as far as Kenya, Slovenia and Mexico), include: individuals, families, military troops and personnel, U.S. Forest Service districts and regions, medical school students, businesses, social workers, parent and student groups, family law attorneys, treatment providers and the like. Visit www.BreakingTheCycles.com for details. Please feel free to call Lisa at 650-362-3026 or email her at lisaf@breakingthecycles.com.
Lisa Frederiksen

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