11 Jul Signs That Your Teenager Is Using Heroin
More teens are using heroin today than in the 1970s and hundreds more are dying from heroin abuse than a decade ago. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, almost 200 people between the ages of 15 and 24 died from a heroin overdose in 1999. In 2009, those numbers climbed to 510 deaths from heroin.
Families and friends can watch for signs that teens may be using heroin and help bring the number of deaths down. With professional rehab and support at home, teens can turn their lives around and recover from drug abuse and the damaging effects it inflicts on their loves ones.
Why Are Teens Using Heroin?
Heroin is less expensive and more easily accessible these days, which is likely the reason for its increased popularity. Teens who don’t have much money or who live at home with their parents are turning to heroin as their drug of choice.
Peer pressure is always a likely cause of heroin abuse, but there are other specific ways teens can get hooked. Some may have turned to heroin after taking prescription painkillers. If a teen has suffered a sports injury or had surgery, he or she may have been prescribed prescription painkillers. Some can become dependent on them if they are misused. When a doctor denies a refill, some teens turn to heroin to numb their pain.
Teens with psychological disorders have also been known to take heroin in an effort alleviate their mental health symptoms. Teens with disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder may be at risk for using heroin.
Signs of Teen Heroin Use
Signs that indicate a teen is using heroin are quite similar to signs of any drug abuse. Some behaviors are even difficult to differentiate between drug abuse and just typical teen behavior. Those teens who use heroin might start breaking rules even if they never were rule-breakers; they may drop their old friends to start hanging out with a new rougher crowd; or they may even become socially withdrawn. Their grades might start to suffer.
But there are emotional and physical signs that can help parents and good friends know that the teen may be at risk for heroin use. The teen may be more anxious, irritable and depressed than usual. His or her skin may also appear different. While heroin may cause acne, the teen’s skin may also have a yellow, waxy appearance. The teen may also start to lose enough weight to appear sunken-in or unhealthy. Oftentimes, a teen who uses heroin is sick much more often than other teens.
Getting Help While They Are Young
If teens can recover from their heroin addiction, they can avoid serious medical problems in their future. Professional help at a residential treatment facility and support from family and friends who are aware of risk factors for heroin use can support those teens who are struggling against a lifetime of abuse.
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