When 20-year-old Matt purchased white powder at a party, he was told it was crushed pain killers. The truth is, it was pure heroin. For four months, John’s mother says he unknowingly snorted heroin before he realized what it was. John desperately tried to overcome his heroin addiction, but ended up tragically dying of an overdose.
There is a deep impact of heroin addiction which brings about a startling trend in which teens and young adults like Matt are being misled into taking the drug by friends and dealers. Jack Riley, a DEA Special Agent, has seen this dangerous trend first-hand.
“We see heroin traffickers really trying to hook prospective new customers into the heroin addiction simply by not telling them what it is they’re selling,” said Riley.
Twenty-four-year-old Wendell, a former college football player and a recovering heroin user, admits to being on the other side of the trend. “I used to trick people into doing heroin so they would do it with me. I would say to them it was oxycontin, vicodin, cocaine, almost anything. Anything less than heroin.”
There has been an 80 percent increase in teens seeking treatment for heroin abuse in the past decade
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Samhsa)
Heroin is a highly addictive, illegal drug. It is used by millions of addicts around the world. Many are afraid to quit because of its horrendous side effects associated from the withdrawl.
Heroin, like opium and morphine, is made from the resin of poppy plants. This opium is refined to make morphine, then further broken down into different forms of heroin. Most heroin is injected, creating additional risks for the user, such as the danger of AIDS or other infections on top of addiction.
The Young Faces of Heroin
The image of a thirty-something heroin addict, clad in soiled and torn clothing, who is collapsed in a filthy, dark alley is not obsolete, but it is now accompanied by other heroin addiction types. The new breed of heroin addicts come in many shapes and forms. They could be a 12 year-old, who also likes to play video games, eat pizza, and go to the movies. This child may not show any of the common traces of heroin use, such as needle marks on their arm, because they are in fact smoking or snorting it instead.
This addiction can go unnoticed for quite some time until it may be too late. The child could either die from a heroin overdose or get caught in a one-way ticket towards an addiction riddled life. Regrettably, for the young heroin user, the risk is the same whether you shoot it, smoke it or snort it.
Cheese Heroin lures even younger heroin users
A highly addictive drug known as “cheese heroin” is a blend of black tar Mexican heroin (called “”black tar” because of its color) and over-the-counter cold medication, such as Tylenol PM. The drug costs only a couple of dollars a hit and children as young as nine-years-old have been documented to be hooked on cheese heroin.
The combination of the two drugs can cause vital bodily functions such as breathing and heartbeat to slow down and sometimes breakdown entirely – resulting in death. Since 2004, cheese heroin is responsible for at least 40 deaths in the North Texas region according to local authorities.
What Dealers will tell you
When teens were surveyed to find out why they started using drugs in the first place, 55% said it was due to pressure from their friends. They wanted to be cool and popular.
Dealers know this
The dealers will approach you as a friend and offer to help you out with something to bring you up. They may tell you that the drug will help you fit in or “make you cool.” Drug dealers, motivated by the profits they make, will say anything to get you to buy their drugs. They will tell you that “heroin is a warm blanket” or “heroin will be your best high.”
They don’t care if the drugs ruin your life just as long as they’re getting paid. It’s all about the money. Former dealers have admitted they saw their buyers as pawns in a chess game.
And perhaps the most troubling part of this nightmarish soap opera is this deadly game knows no boundaries as far as age is concerned.