HEROIN USE SPIKES AMONG 18-22 YEAR OLDS

Today’s portrait of a typical heroin user probably isn’t what most people imagine. The growth in heroin use is primarily among white, middle and upper class 18-22 year olds, living in America’s suburbs and rural areas.

The heroin concern is an unfortunate outcome of another sweeping drug abuse trend among affluent teens: abuse of prescription pain medications, such as Vicodin and Oxycontin. According to Partnership for Drug Free America, 24 % of high school students have abused addictive prescription drugs, a 33% increase in 5 years. 

However, prescription opioids have become harder to obtain and more expensive, therefore opioid abusers are migrating to a cheaper, stronger alternative to prescription pills: heroin.

It’s important to recognize the physical signs and symptoms of heroin use, which include:

  • Shallow breathing and shortness of breath.
  • Clouded mental functioning.
  • Decreased pain from either physical conditions or emotional challenges.
  • Uncontrollable feelings of itching.
  • Constricted pupils.

As well as behavioral signs of heroin abuse, such as:

  • Lying or other deceptive behavior.
  • Substantial increase in time spent sleeping.
  • Increase in slurred or incoherent speech.
  • Poor performance in school or work, including expulsion or loss of jobs.
  • Decreasing attention to hygiene and physical appearance.
  • Loss of motivation and apathy toward future goals and interests.
  • Withdrawal from friends and family, instead spending time with new friends with no natural tie.
  • Repeatedly stealing or borrowing money from loved ones, or unexplained absence of valuables.
  • Wearing long pants or long sleeves to hide needle marks, even in very warm weather.

If you know someone who needs help breaking free from opioids, Gateway Foundation can help. For a free and confidential consultation, please call 877-505-4673.

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