When we talk about heroin, dope, smack, junk, H, or horse, we refer to the same substance. Heroin, an opioid drug, is an extract from opium poppy plants. Heroin classifies as a Schedule 1 narcotic, which means it has no medical value and falls under the category of an abused substance.
Though heroin is a natural by-product of plants and has recreational properties, it is still illegal. Heroin powder is made of morphine, a chemical is known to release dopamine, and is found in poppy seeds of opium plants. The other thing we need to understand about heroin is that it’s a highly addictive substance.
Some other facts about heroin substance addiction:
- Around 10 million people around the world are actively dependent on heroin.
- Many of the teenagers with a substance addiction belong to upper- or middle-class suburban families.
- With regular use, tolerance for heroin develops, which means the quantity consumed increases with the desire—to feel the same level of kick. And this is the reason why heroin is addictive.
- There are many HIV/ AIDS infection cases among teenagers because of sharing the same syringe used for injecting heroin.
- The withdrawal symptoms begin within just a few hours and can peak in 72 hours. As soon as someone who has become dependent stops using the drug, they may start experiencing restlessness, bone pain, goosebumps, and rashness as withdrawal symptoms.
- Sudden withdrawal from heroin of heavily addicted teenagers has been fatal.
- The first use of heroin was in 1898 as a tuberculosis medicine marketed by the German pharma company Bayer.
- White powdery heroin is the purest form, whereas sticky grey-black is the alliterated form.
Heroin addiction is so common in today’s society that it has changed the way we perceive the behavior of heroin addicts. Now, someone suffering from heroin addiction is no more recalcitrant in society and instead is offered help out of this dreadful substance abuse addiction.
Heroin is no longer a taboo topic. Now, we are starting to realize that an addict can be a family member, a friend, or a child. Due to the opioid epidemic, we are seeing a lot more heroin addicts around us.
And this is what motivated many rehab centers to help families, parents, and teens with a professional and empathetic approach toward teen heroin addiction treatment in LA.
How Teens Get Access to Heroin and How They Use It
Some of the shocking statistics about drug abuse in teenagers suggest that:
- More than 30% of teens regularly consume alcohol.
- Around 15% of teenagers have confessed that they are regularly binge drinking.
- More than 20% of high school students’ parents have complained about marijuana addiction in their kids.
- 11–12% of teenagers in LA are using illicit drugs or misusing prescribed medication.
- 4% of high schoolers regularly misuse pain medications.
But if heroin and other drugs are illegal in the US, where do teenagers get them?
You will be surprised to know that most addicted teens get heroin either at school or at home.
They say that opioids and other medicines with morphine are readily available to them, even at nearby drugstores. Well, some even mentioned sneaking out the drugs from their parents’ wardrobe.
Well, the hard-hitting reality about heroin that every parent must acknowledge is that it is easily accessible. Heroin is commonly traded in your neighborhood, that until the teenager is not motivated to avoid it, it is hard to keep them away from it.
A common way of taking heroin is rolling it and shaping it into a puff to smoke, inhale or inject. Teens may also mix it with energy drinks or milk and can take a direct dose.
Teens are in this illusion that taking dope or substances will make them at one with school wannabe teams.
Symptoms and Warning Signs of Heroin Use for Parents
Many parents of teens in rehab centers have regrets over not acknowledging the symptoms of drug addiction on time and dealing with teen problems leniently. Parents of teens need to pay exclusive attention to their behavior, school performance, and sleeping and eating habits to intervene in drug addiction problems before they cause more damage.
Heroin addiction can have both short-term and long-term effects on teens depending on the circumstances.
Regardless of whether somebody is smoking, snorting, or injecting heroin, what eventually happens is that the abused substance becomes the teen’s sole priority. Over time in that person’s brain hierarchy, heroin becomes the top savior – above everything else when it comes to survival. That means the teen will no longer worry about food or studies, which is a warning sign for parents. Parents can see red flags if their teen is using heroin.
- Changes in behavior. For example, a loss of energy, a loss of appetite, memory problems, nodding out while you’re talking to somebody.
- Also, somebody pretty much falls asleep while standing or when you are having a conversation with them.
- Tiny pupils are usually a pretty good indicator.
- We can also look at how withdrawal symptoms affect somebody and also use those indicators that teens are using heroin. Nervousness, nausea, shakiness, and anxiousness are all withdrawal symptoms.
- Don’t overlook specific indicators to see how somebody is ingesting heroin. An obvious one is needle marks or track marks if somebody is an IV user.
- A real common one is a very dry voice or cough associated with smoking heroin.
- Some street names of heroin are boy, horse, a white horse, black tar, brown, smack, dog food, and H. If your teen frequently uses these names, they might be up to something.
- Short-Term Effects – A teen who becomes exposed to drugs will show the following symptoms: clouded thinking, losing consciousness or going in and out of consciousness, a heavy feeling in the limbs, dry mouth, severe itching, nausea, and vomiting, and a warm flushing of the skin.
- Long-Term Effects – A teen heavily dependent on drugs may show one or some symptoms: insomnia, lung problems, depression, sexual dysfunction, abscesses, damaged tissues in the nose if the drug has been snorted, collapsed veins if the drug has been injected, kidney disease, and liver disease.
Intervention and Prevention Tips for Parents
As parents, it is our job to protect our kids and keep them safe. Ninety percent of Americans with a substance use disorder began using substances before the age of 18. As parents, we can keep our kids safe from addiction following these intervention and prevention tips.
- Talk early and often talk with your kids about the risks of using alcohol and drugs. It should not be a one-time chat but an ongoing conversation that evolves.
- Intervention in teen drug addiction can be hard, so take some time to think about your relationship with substances and whether your family has a history of addiction.
- Suppose you have a drink in front of your kids. In that case, that’s an opportunity to explain the differences between adult and adolescent brains and why it is so important for them to delay substance use until their brain is fully developed to support healthy activities.
- Engaging teens with positive activities and making them feel like they belong in a healthy community is a great preventive measure.
- Set clear expectations in preventing the development of a substance use disorder at an early age. While the adolescent brain is still developing, make it clear to your kids that they cannot use any substance until they turn 20.
- Be clear and consistent about what the consequences of substance use would entail for your child.
- Sometimes it’s okay to be a parent rather than a friend. Your kids don’t need a buddy; they need parents to guide and support them safely into adulthood.
- Don’t provide alcohol or drugs to your teens. We might think that teens will be safer drinking if we are there to monitor them. Still, parents supplying alcohol to their teens increases adolescent alcohol use and other unsafe behaviors.
- Teen drinking is not inevitable. Don’t host and have no access to substances at home. Remind other parents that substance use is dangerous for adolescents no matter where it happens.
- Pay attention and stay involved in your kids’ lives even as they become more independent.
- Build relationships with their friends’ parents, and keep them up to date about where your kids are and what they are doing.
- Tell other parents that your kid cannot use substances under any circumstances and ask about their house rules.
- Don’t forget to set aside time for family. Quality time with loved ones has a lasting positive impact on kids, and building a healthy relationship with your child now makes it more likely if they begin to have struggled to feel comfortable coming to you for help.
- Prioritizing sleep and getting a good night’s sleep is critical to mental and physical health, especially during adolescence. Lack of sleep can lead to severe health conditions and increase a person’s risk for addiction.
Early Intervention is crucial if you think that your kid may be struggling with substance use. Don’t wait to get help from outside first. Science tells us that the earlier a person is treated for a substance use disorder, the better the outcome, and that treatment works.
If your teen is not ready for the transition program, call us for compassionate and confidential support together.
Around 3,391 people died in 2019 because of a heroin overdose. Parents need to identify the symptoms of overdose to take timely action.
The signs and symptoms of a heroin overdose in teens
No response to pain: You can’t get the teen to respond to pain. Try rubbing your knuckles firmly on their sternum. If they do not respond to that, that’s a key indicator of overdose.
Change in skin color: Another indicator would be blue or pale-ish lips and nails.
Shallow breathing: The teen shows shallow breathing on overdose. Sometimes it can even be raspy and paused for a while.
Difficulty speaking or standing: If the teen is suddenly unable to speak and their body starts to shake, it is indicative of a heavy dose.
These are all indicators that the teen has overdosed on heroin. Parents should immediately call for help once they observe these in their teens.
Teen Heroin Addiction Treatment Options
The best way to treat addiction is to prevent it. We all knew that too many prescriptions for
opioid painkillers were being written off and put policies in place to try and reduce the number of unnecessary prescriptions. In 2012, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Massachusetts started to require prior authorization for more than a month’s supply of opioids. In just a year and a half, this cut the number of prescriptions by more than six and a half million pills. Another issue is that many still feel like drug addiction is a moral failure rather than a personal and public health issue.
Usually, teen heroin addiction treatment begins with detoxification, where we try to beat the withdrawal cycle. It often continues with rehab either in the inpatient or outpatient setting, often with pharmacotherapy and behavioral therapy. Unfortunately, therapy often doesn’t stick to even about half of those in rehab.
Naltrexone is an antagonist medication, which means that it blocks opioid receptors. When someone takes Naltrexone, then the opioids don’t work. It can treat both overdose and addiction. Although it’s not as widely used for addiction as people don’t take it consistently or tolerate it well, you can also get high soon if you stop taking it.
Methadone is a synthetic opioid agonist, meaning it works much as opioids do; it acts on the same receptors in the brain as the other opioids. In doing so, it relieves withdrawal symptoms and reduces cravings. For medical treatment, methadone is one of the most popular forms of treatment for teen addiction. It is only taken three times a week; however, concerns about cardiac-related effects have made it less widely used than other drugs.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, meaning that it works both a bit like an agonist and an antagonist. It also reduces cravings and decreases symptoms of withdrawal. Several randomized controlled trials have shown it to be significantly better than others. It’s not clear, however, if it’s superior to methadone. Buprenorphine is sometimes unfairly characterized like many of these drugs as synthetic heroin, but the drug is materially different from illicit opioids.
Cost of Medical Treatment for Teen Heroin Addiction
These pharmacotherapy treatments have some problems, although demand for
treatment programs is very high and many of them have waiting lists. At the same time, access to these programs can be tough in rural areas.
Even after you get in, they are also costly. Insurers don’t always pay for drug treatment programs, and many pharmacotherapy programs don’t accept insurance even if they are willing to pay.
Paying for office visits and medication can be a significant financial burden for those in recovery.
Detoxification relieves the physical effects of withdrawal, but it’s the social and psychological effects that lead teens to relapse. Long-term maintenance therapy can help, though.
Sober Living Transition Program
Teen sober living is a transition program to help teens overcome addiction. It supports the use of medicines and maintenance therapy. It is compelling as some counseling programs are more compatible with maintenance therapy.
These can include cognitive-behavioral therapies like the SMART Therapy Program,
Motivational Interviewing and Family Therapy.
Relapse Behavioral Treatments work to help patients learn to:
- Live without drugs
- Overcome cravings
- Avoid situations that could make drug use more likely
- Deal with relapse
The objectives of Behavioral Therapy Treatment are to:
- Reduce dependence on drugs and to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by them
- Improve mental and physical health
- Prevent illicit behavior and help people reintegrate into society
It is important to remember that addiction leads to real changes in the brain, and withdrawal leads to real symptoms, including abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, aches, pain, and changes in mood. The agony of withdrawal is very unpleasant, and people will do almost anything to stop the process.
Cost of Transitional Housing Treatment for Teen Heroin Addiction
Fortunately, the Teen IOPs are often covered by most PPO insurance plans. Parents of teens should approach a transition house to ensure a faster recovery. These rehabs provide family intervention programs with professional help.
The Key Transitions rehab program has helped many teens be sober again with different drug addiction treatment options.
The best way to treat heroin addiction is through an inpatient residential rehab, a detox treatment center. The reason to have both facilities is because the cravings that strongly motivate a person to get more heroin come in two phases:
1) There’s the acute detox where the craving is uncontrollable. The withdrawals are so harmful, and the call for more drugs is so powerful that literally, people are powerless to stop themselves.
After detox, or we can say the removal of the heroin from the brain, there are less intense cravings, urges, thoughts, or temptations.
2) The rehab part of the treatment allows the brain to stay away from the old ways of wanting more drugs and develop different coping mechanisms. Different alternatives for an abstinent or drug-free life are reiterated and retrained over.
With the help of rehab centers and sober living, this abstinent lifestyle is likely to be maintained in place of the addicted lifestyle.
If their teen son or teen daughter has a heroin addiction, parents need to intervene immediately to bring necessary change and should not hesitate to receive any help for it.
If your teen has an addiction problem, call the best rehab center for professional help.