Posts Tagged teen heroin abuse
In 2010, the Illinois Youth Survey yielded alarming results that showed about 10% of 8th graders in Lake County have already encountered alcohol at the tender age of 10 or even younger. It was also uncovered that 6% of sophomores are lighting up pot at least twice in a month.
This is why the Stevenson High School community took the responsibility of holding the “Saving Our Children” symposium which tackled issues on the use of illicit drugs. Aside from their own parents and students, families from Libertyville and Vernon Hills High schools were also present during the event.
Elisabeth Nelson from the Lake County Health Department said that the data gathered in 2010 failed to include the use of OTC drugs among kids but promised to include the subject in this year’s survey. “We have seen a slight increase in prescription drug abuse in the past year’s data,” Nelson added. “Cough medicine is higher than pain killers.”
According to Nelson, it has been recorded that children who start with the abuse of pain killers, such as Oxycontin and Percocet, ultimately go up the ladder towards heroin addiction. She added that the best sources of these pain medications are the home medicine cabinets where parents and grandparents store their prescriptions without proper security.
While alcohol remains the top drug choice among kids in Lake County, other household substances like inhalants are easily misused especially by middle school students.
Thus, Stevenson High School student assistance program coordinator Stephanie Elsass makes it a point to solicit the support of nearby schools in hosting the symposium every year. For the past seven years, schools in their area have taken turns as panel of experts during the forum.
In a report from the Sun Times, Nelson reminded parents to monitor their children especially in the coming summer season and that the talk on drugs and alcohol should be done at the earliest time possible.
The Glendora Unified Parents Summit was held last Tuesday with educators, local police, and drug counselors calling for local parents’ help in keeping kids away from drug abuse.
At the event organized by the Glendora Unified School District together with the Glendora Police Department, teen issues including substance abuse and the effect of technology on family relationships were put on a spotlight.
Glendora Police Chief Rob Castro joined the said event and gave a tough message to the parents present during the forum. “We realized as police and school administrators we are not the panacea for helping our kids. It starts at home, it starts with you… It’s not our job, by the time we find out that something is wrong it’s already too late.”
The Glendora Police Department introduced the different types of drugs such as ecstasy, marijuana, prescription drugs, and alcohol. There were also new types of drugs emerging and making their way in the community such as Xanax and spice as well as the re-entry of heroin in the list.
According to Mike Schaub and Robin McGeough from the Charter Oak Recovery Program, teens today are experimenting with more potent drugs. With their work as drug counselors for Whitcomb High School, they have recorded that most teens under drug use or addiction do not only stick to one type of drug but a variety of dangerous substances.
Heroin is fast becoming a drug of choice for the youth again. Parents are warned that kids today do not necessarily need needles to use the drug as they now snort or smoke heroin believing it’s a much safer route.
At the end of the event, only one strong message was left to parents: that they have to be involved in their kids’ daily lives; knowing where the kids are, who they hang out with, and what they do after school are necessary if they don’t want their kids to get into trouble.
The state of Ohio is alarmed on the increasing number of heroin users in the area, as they keep getting younger. Children as young as 13 years old are said to be experimenting with heroin. The drug becomes a cheaper substitute for painkillers and it’s relatively more accessible compared to prescription medications.
According to the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, heroin abuse increased in the last six months. From the bi-annual survey of drug users and counselors, the main reasons why heroin has climbed the top of the most abused substances are its cheap cost and easy access.
In 2010, Ohio registered a record-breaking 338 deaths that were all heroin-related.
Trisha Saunders, head of The Recovery Center in Lancaster, confirmed that they are handling 360 cases with patients addicted to painkillers or heroin. “They say, ‘I never thought I’d switch from taking a pill to putting a needle in my arm.”
In Toledo, heroin users start their habit at the tender age of 13. This is supported by Ohio’s biggest substance abuse treatment facility, Maryhaven in Columbus, with 132 patients under the age of 18 hooked on heroin or painkillers.
Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services department director Orman Hall clarified that the state is doing its best to address the problem. They are targeting to lessen heroin users by implementing tighter regulations on dispensing prescription painkillers as heroin addiction is said to start with the said medications.
Heroin availability is not only affecting Ohio. Chicago and Lake County in Northern Indiana are also hit with the epidemic based on the 2011 National Drug Intelligence report.
Interested California parents are encouraged to attend a drug education forum, organized by the San Dieguito Alliance for Drug Free Youth and Because I Love You (BILY), at Seacoast Community Church in Encinitas, California, on February 13.
The event will feature a presentation highlighting drug trends and prevention strategies, followed by an open forum where parents will be given the opportunity to share stories and ask questions. The featured speaker for the forum is Joseph Olesky, a substance abuse counselor with the San Dieguito Union High School District. Mr. Olesky has more than 20 years of experience as a drug and alcohol counselor.
Olesky shared: “The biggest question we get from parents is ‘how has this problem gotten so bad? And we have an answer for that.” The growing problem of drug addiction among teens, according to Olesky, may be attributed to an increase in heroin abuse and prescription drug abuse.
Olesky was quoted as saying “Every generation has one or two drugs that define it… Right now it’s those two — probably throw ecstasy in there, too.”
Teens have increasingly turned to abusing prescription drugs as they are usually easier to obtain, when compared to marijuana and cocaine. From a cost perspective, on the other hand, there are teens who are turning to heroin, as it is cheaper than Vicodin and Oxycontin.
“Heroin used to be a drug people graduated to after doing everything else… hat’s not the case anymore,” Olesky said. “This time we’re not only going to discuss signs and symptoms, but we’re also going to talk a lot about interventions.”
School authorities from the Carl Sandburg High School know how important the role of parents is in the fight against teen drug abuse. This is why, in the midst of recent reports that heroin use is up among teens, district administrators sent letters to parents to warn them of the situation and to seek their help and cooperation in keeping kids safe.
Debbie Boniface, principal at Sandburg High, says that teens don’t usually listen to warnings. Enlisting the help of parents is very important in their fight against drug abuse.
“It’s very important for parents, community members and kids to know that the point is not to get someone in trouble, but to get them help and support,” the principal said. “This is about making healthy and appropriate choices, and whatever we can do to ensure that is important.”
The letter, which was sent by Superintendent James Gay, appealed to parents to talk to their kids about drug abuse. Also contained in the letter are useful information sites and which could help parents with the task.
A part of the letter reads: “…disturbing stories about dangerous and sometimes deadly behavior in which teens in the south suburbs have been engaging. News reports include underage drinking and law enforcement concerns over the increase in availability of drugs, particularly heroin.”
Boniface added that breaks in school can be factor in promoting dangerous habits of students. It possible for kids to take advantage of these periods when nobody in authority is around them. Even during long school breaks, kids often succumb to drug-related activities.
“When kids are away from school for a while, their guard is let down,” she said. “They don’t have to be somewhere the next day, don’t have to get homework done. Sometimes bad things happen.”
It is always unfortunate to see ideally promising young people waste away – or have their lives brutally cut short – because of drug abuse. This is why governments and communities are constantly developing means of fighting it, especially among the youth.
A report on RGJ.com shares the efforts of the city of Reno, Nevada, in combating the abuse of a specific illicit substance: heroin. Teens and young adults, according to city authorities, do not seem to realize the danger of using heroin, and how addictive the substance is.
One proof of this is the fact that the rate of heroin use among young people in the city has increased significantly. According to Dave Evans, Reno Deputy Police Chief, arrests for people under the age of 20 increased five times between 2006 and 2009. Heroin-related arrests went up from 3 percent in 2006, to 18 percent in 2009.
Reno Mayor Bob Cashell described the heroin of today as different: “We’re not talking about the heroin of the ’70s… Today’s heroin is more pure, and it’s cheap. Kids are buying it with their lunch money.” A balloon of heroin, according to narcotics detectives, costs $10 or thereabouts on the street.
The mayor, the Reno Police, and the school district have joined forces with Join Together Northern Nevada in a public awareness campaign regarding heroin abuse. They are aiming to raise $25,000 for a TV ad as part of the campaign. David Quint, executive director for Join Together, shared that the goal of the campaign is to provide parents and young people with tools as well as warning signs, in the hope that knowledge will prevent more young people from succumbing, and losing their lives, to heroin addiction.