Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Younger people turn to heroin; possible link to prescription drug abuse

Heroin is a seriously addictive opiate that is affecting thousands of people. Not only is it destroying the lives of adults, but our young people are becoming and have been addicted as well. Please view my next post regarding signs that a teenager could be abusing opiates/heroin or drugs.
Teenagers are becoming addicted to heroin not realizing the potency of the drug they are putting into their system; the next hit could be their last hit. Another red flag are the drugs we keep in our medicine cabinets, teenagers are researching prescription drugs on the internet and steeling their parents medication. Read this blog about the teenage heroin epidemic. This is a serious problem and being aware could save a life.

Younger people turn to heroin; possible link to prescription drug abuse

Author: Calli Fisher
WEBLINK: http://www.krnv.com/Global/story.asp?S=10941447

Dan Piirainen says he watched some of his lifelong friends' lives turn upside down as they experimented with heroin. But this isn't the typical drug addict story.

A group of friends began using the dangerous drug at a young age, as early as 17 years old. Heroin use overall in Northern Nevada is climbing at an alarming rate, but the Regional Street Enforcement Team says the situation is even more concerning because younger people are buying the drug.

"We used to see a heroin addict be a 30 or 40 year old person who has been using for a couple of years, and they inject it or IV-use heroin. But today, a lot more young people are using it," Sgt. Mac Venzon, with the Street Enforcement Team, said.

Venzon says they are seeing people ages 17 to 20 "stuck in the heroin loop that they just can't get out of." Piirainen says he's not surprised and has witnessed the snowball effect of heroin.

"One friend would do it. They would pass it on. It would just get bigger and bigger. Now the monster is out of control," he said. "They always chose the drug over friendship and family. They didn't care."

The Street Enforcement Team has been recovering more and more heroin from the streets over the past couple of years. In 2006, they seized 6.4 grams. It climbed to 59.1 grams and 195 grams in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

The amount of heroin recovered has skyrocketed so far in 2009. The Street Enforcement Team seized 513.9 grams of heroin in the first half of this year alone, which is on pace for 2009 to have more than a 400 percent increase from 2008.

Data also shows the number of arrests for heroin charges in Washoe County is rising. Arrests doubled from 19 in 2007 to 46 in 2008. 56 heroin arrests are in books through the first half of 2009.

So why are younger people turning to heroin? The Street Enforcement Team believes there is a link between prescription drug abuse and heroin. Venzon says heroin and many painkillers are opiate-based drugs. Once a user becomes addicted to the prescription drug, the "turn to heroin is not that far away."

Venzon says the street price of heroin can actually be cheaper than buying pills. A small balloon of heroin goes for about $10, according to Venzon.
Piirainen says the problem is spiraling out of control. "Don't think you can try it once and not do it again. It's not even worth it," Piirainen said.
Posted By: Ken Seeley – Founder – Intervention 911

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