Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Unlikely Heroin Addicts: Teen Deaths Are Shocking the Nation

Unshaven. Skinny. Desperate. Wild-eyed. Usually depicted as homeless, a criminal, in jail or on his way to being arrested, the stereotypical junkie has always been defined by popular media as an urban outcast, a down-on-his-luck middle-aged white male. For years, this mythical villain was one of the many reasons that parents fled the cities and raised their children in the suburbs.

Heroin has become synonymous with a parent’s worst nightmare for their child – and it should be. Unfortunately, suburban teens are no longer as insulated as they once were from this addictive substance. More and more teenagers are dying of heroin overdose, and parents as well as teachers, law enforcement, and the medical community are all working together to figure out how it happened—and how to make it stop.

Teen Heroin Abuse in the Suburbs?

Easier access is one of the first reasons that more teens are using heroin in the suburbs. It is more readily available than it has ever been before as drug trafficking routes have shifted to accommodate the new clientele.

The wave of prescription painkiller abuse that swept the suburbs in the last decade may also have had an effect. Many teens took opiate painkillers from their parents’ medicine cabinets only to develop a dependence and have their supply run out. Because heroin is an opiate as well—and far cheaper than painkillers—many teens turn to heroin rather than get the help they need to break free from addiction.

Identifying Heroin Abuse in Your Son

Are you concerned that your son may be abusing heroin or any opioid drug? According to the National Institutes of Health, some of the most obvious signs of opiate dependence occur when the user is without the drug. When addiction is an issue, they will often exhibit withdrawal symptoms that increase in intensity as more time lapses since their last dose. These withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Profuse sweating
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessive yawning
  • Runny nose and teary eyes
  • Goosebumps
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches and bone pain
  • Inability to sleep
  • Stomach cramps and diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting

Treatment Can Change Your Son’s Life

Quitting heroin use at home without medical supervision is not recommended when physical dependence is an issue. If your son is exhibiting withdrawal symptoms, he will need medical attention in order to safely stop using his drug of choice. Contact us at Muir Wood today to learn more about what else should be included in an effective heroin addiction treatment program for your son and how we can help.