An old survey of heroin users showed that between 2008 and 2009, there was a significant increase in usage by way of injection among the 8th-12th-grade population. What's really shocking is not that more heroin users are administering this drug via injection, but that they are into heroin in the first place! These are kids we're talking about! Surely they did not all wake up one morning and suddenly decide, Oh, I think I will do heroin today. So how did they get started?
According to experts, this dramatic spike in teenage heroin use can be directly attributed to easy accessibility of prescription opioids for pain. People have become so familiar with prescription drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin. These prescription painkillers among others have actually become the gateway drugs to heroin. People are less afraid of heroin because after all, it's just another opioid.
Families are less wary and have become careless, leaving prescription painkillers lying around, within easy reach by anybody in the household. Teenagers no longer look at heroin as the stuff from which horror stories are made of. Heroin, even if they call it something else, now represents relief from pain, and it is prescribed by doctors no less!
It's a no-brainer then that these same kids will eventually level-up to heroin use (or level-down, considering that heroin is much cheaper than their prescription cousins). Besides, heroin is also more accessible in some areas than even marijuana, alcohol and ecstasy.
Surveys indicate that over 74% of opioid and heroin-addicted patients unknowingly started on their downward spiral by using prescription drugs. They have had no substance abuse problem prior to getting their hands on prescription painkillers.
Once a person gets addicted to opioids and/or heroin, he or she will find it impossible to stop. Why? When a person stops using opioid or heroin, he or she will experience severe withdrawal symptoms like chills or cold flashes, sweating, restlessness, bone/joint and muscle pain, involuntary leg movements, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and insomnia. The person becomes fearful of these withdrawal symptoms and thus finds it hard to begin the recovery process.
If you are concerned that a family member or a close friend may be using (or abusing) prescription drugs (that belong to you or another family member), you might want to lovingly but firmly suggest testing by using an over the counter drug test in the privacy of your own home. Your kid will likely give you grief about you not trusting them, but as a parent, it will be more important for you to be safe than sorry later. Think of it this way, because your kids know you will ask them to do the test, they will have the motivation to stay away from those prescription opioids.
Home drug testing kits come in different, easy-to-use packages and can be done using urine, saliva or hair samples. You can even choose a particular at home drug test depending on which drug you want to test for. Keeping your kids safe has been made a little easier by these over the counter drug tests. Catch a problem before it becomes out of control.