The school bell rings as students file out of classrooms and begin to head towards home, a friend’s house, or an after school activity. While most teenagers go home to watch TV and do homework after class, other teenagers hit the streets searching for their next high. Over the last couple of years, more and more teenagers are using opiate prescription pills to get high. When those run out, many teen addicts turn to using heroin, the cheaper alternative.
People don’t expect teenagers to have access to “hard drugs” like heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine. However, more and more people including teenagers are using heroin across the country. The varying potency, availability, and low price of heroin means that it’s becoming easier to use. This article chronicles the sharp rise in heroin use in Long Island, New York. It also tells the tale of a teenager who began using heroin when he was only 16 years old. “Chris” describes how he was too scared to inject the drug and had a friend inject it for him. After that, Chris said his usage was five or six bags every time he shot heroin. He began committing felonies to support his substance abuse.
The article also cited some troubling statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, overdoses have gone up by 45% from 2006 to 2010. The heroin supply has rapidly grown to meet demand and the DEA has reported that heroin seizures at the USA & Mexico border increased by 232% from 2008 to 2012. The article also cites another CDC study which found that deaths caused by heroin for the age group 15 to 24 have increased from 2008 to 2010. Jeff Reynolds, Executive Director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, was quoted as saying “Ten years ago, if you used two to three bags of heroin a day, you were considered a chronic heavy user. For kids these days, that’s breakfast.” Reynolds also stated that there is a seven-fold increase in patients going for inpatient treatment over the past 5 years and up to 80% of them were seeking treatment for heroin and opiate addiction. Reynolds also said many of the users are not the kind of people one might normally associate with drug use. Instead, most heroin users were the cheerleaders, athletes, and straight-A students from stable homes.
Unfortunately, many parents are not aware of the signs of heroin abuse until it’s too late. Many parents are ashamed when their children have an overdose or die from using heroin. Several parents were quoted in the above article describing the shock they felt when they learned their son or daughter was using heroin. If you believe your son or daughter is using heroin, or prescription opiates, don’t wait to get help. Call us now to learn more about our heroin treatment program.
Did you know that using cocaine, even just a few times in a social setting, can still negatively affect your heart? A recent study conducted by scientists in Australia found that even recreational cocaine use can still negatively affect the heart, leading to early heart troubles.
Researchers found that cocaine use is associated with an increase in systolic blood pressure, aortic stiffness, and left ventricular mass in young and otherwise healthy people. According to the study, “Compared with the non-user control cohort, cocaine users had increased aortic stiffness and systolic blood pressure, associated with greater left ventricular mass. These measures are all well known risk factors for premature cardiovascular events, highlighting the dangers of cocaine use, even in a ‘social’ setting, and have important public health implications.”
The effects of using cocaine include feelings of energy, euphoria, and an elevated mood. Cocaine also decreases the need to sleep or eat. Using too much cocaine at one time is associated with feelings of paranoia, restlessness, irritability, and anxiety.
Many people think it’s safe to experiment with different drugs, as long as they don’t get addicted. However, the study mentioned above shows this is not the case. Healthy people who occasionally use cocaine are still putting themselves at risk of an early heart attack or stroke. Long-term use of cocaine can trigger panic attacks and paranoia. Snorting cocaine over a long period of time can also lead to frequent nose bleeds and ulceration of the mucous membrane of the nose.
Unfortunately, cocaine is very psychologically addictive. Users will need treatment to help them overcome the addictiveness of the drug. Most cocaine treatment programs focus on why the user felt like he or she needed to use cocaine in the first place. Many times, people start to use a drug to cover up a mental health issue (like depression) or to self-medicate for trauma that may have occurred in their past.
If you or someone you love is struggling with cocaine addiction, don’t wait to get help. Call us now to learn more about our cocaine treatment program.
Education Director Denise Achee: Welcome! Come in. So, today’s your last day?
Kayla F: Yeah.
DA: So tell me, what brought you to Inspirations [teen rehab]?
KF: My life was very unmanageable and like I just didn’t know like what to do and I know I needed help, but I just at that point, going anywhere would have been better than where I was.
DA: Were you using? Are you here because you were using substances? Or was it behavioral, or both because they kind of go hand-in-hand?
KF: Yeah. Well like my drug of choice is like molly and alcohol and like I’m here for codependency so I guess yeah behavioral problems.
DA: Did you have an intervention when you came or did you come willingly?
KF: Well it was kind of confusing because I knew I was coming to rehab I just didn’t know that I had to stay like, it wasn’t my choice if I wanted to stay or not so when I came I did have an intervention that I had to stay.
DA: Okay. How did that feel? Was that a little upsetting?
KF: Yeah and like I had to say goodbye to my parents for like two minutes and like I was just like really scared.
DA: How long did it take you to settle in? Were the first couple of days probably a little scary?
KF: Yeah the first week was like the hardest but I feel like after the like first week it got a lot easier. Like the first week is the hardest.
DA: And then you settled in.
DA: What have you learned most about yourself, you think?
KF: I learned that like everything happens for a reason and I learned like how to cope with things and that some things I can’t change.
DA: How was your relationship with your mother when you first came here?
KF: It wasn’t that good. Like, it was good but like we both like needed help. So like I needed to come here and now it’s good.
DA: So now it’s working well?
DA: Awesome. What’s your plan when you go home?
KF: Well I’m going home and I have spring break so I’m just going to unpack my stuff and relax.
DA: Did you do a home contract.
KF: Yeah, I did do a home contract. I just need to process the fact that I’m actually home because I actually like started crying because I don’t want to leave.
DA: You got attached to everyone here, didn’t you?
DA: So you made some friends.
DA: They’ve supported you a lot because it’s not easy exposing yourself right? These people that we expose ourselves to become very close to us.
DA: Because they kind of see our real truth. Right?
DA: And as they say, the truth will set you free but first it will piss you off [laughs]. It will make you angry, right? So you’ve done a great job. How do you feel now?
KF: Scared. Anxious. Happy. Sad.
DA: All of these emotions together. Will you keep in contact with us?
KF: Yeah. I’m going to call back.
DA: Please let us know how you’re doing. We’re going to miss you because you’ve been here a while. How many days have you been here?
KF: 107 days.
DA: 107 days. Now, do you feel like it was worthwhile staying that amount of time?
DA: I remember you wanted to leave very quickly, remember?
KF: Yeah I did. Like I cried when I came here and now I cried because I’m leaving and like my grandma was like, “is this how all kids act? Is this normal?” and they’re just like “No”.
DA: Some of them. I think the longer you stay the more you become part of our family in a sense.
DA: We become a support system for you.
DA: It’s a little scary when we have to go out and try. Well you have tools now, correct?
DA: You’ve got some coping skills. You’ve learned what didn’t work for you, correct?
DA: You’re aware of what doesn’t serve you; what was holding you back.
DA: Are you excited to go back to school?
KF: Yeah. I’m excited. I was like failing when I came here and now I’m going to get on the right track.
DA: Yeah. Get you back on track so that you can move forward with your life. Now you’re smarter and wiser.
DA: And clean. [laughs] Awesome.
DA: Well congratulations we are very proud of you.
KF: Thank you.
DA: We look forward to seeing you again.
Education Director Denise Achee: Hi! How are you doing?
Alec C: I’m doing good, how are you?
DA: So is today your last day?
AC: Yes it is.
DA: Tell me about your journey. What brought you to Inspirations [teen rehab]?
AC: I was having a lot of family problems and I was using a lot of hardcore drugs which I shouldn’t have been using. Stealing…doing a lot of things that most 17 year-old teenagers don’t do…
DA: Or shouldn’t do, maybe?
AC: Yeah, shouldn’t do. You know I knew I had a drug addiction that I needed to, you know, fix what was going on so I came to Inspirations.
DA: Let me ask you, when was the first time you tried drugs? Or what was the first drug you tried?
AC: Marijuana and I was eleven years old.
DA: Eleven years old and what was the next time? Did you continue from eleven or did you…?
AC: You know, I smoked a couple times around that but then you know once I hit like twelve/thirteen that’s when I really started smoking a lot.
DA: Alright, so you started smoking weed heavily, like daily, two or three…
DA: Thirteen. Once or twice a day?
DA: Everyday, whenever you could?
DA: When did you escalate because your drug of choice was…?
DA: Opiates. Now that you’ve had this journey, you’ve been able to look at yourself and your addiction, what led you into the opiates? Can you pinpoint that?
AC: Actually I have the perfect pinpoint. I was smoking with my sister’s boyfriend actually and he sells some drugs to make money. He’s not my sister’s boyfriend anymore, it was an older boyfriend. He showed me a Percocet and I’ve never seen it before. It was a Perc 30 and I popped it, he told me to pop it, and I loved it so it went from that, that day on I was using opiates. I was doing percs and oxys [OxyContin] every day. And then ended up sniffing heroin and then I ended up here.
DA: Have you ever shot up?
AC: No I never shot up because of a family issue because I never met my grandfather before and he’s a heroin addict, so you know, I think it would really hurt my mother to, you know, see me using but if I go back out that’s my last option.
DA: Interesting, so you have addiction in your family? You’ve had… how many [addicts]?
AC: My dad. He was addicted to crack cocaine. He’s been clean for eleven years and my grandfather who I’ve never met before, we don’t know if he’s alive or if he’s dead but if he’s alive he’s still shooting up because he’s not doing anything else.
DA: Do you think that their addiction had any influence on you?
AC: I’m not really sure because you know I wasn’t really around my dad like through the whole…when he was using like his hardcore drugs I wasn’t really around him so you know, maybe like through genes it might be something like that but I never really saw my dad use before.
DA: But your mother did talk about his use and that he was an addict?
DA: That must have been very frightful for her.
AC: I found out he was an addict actually when I started using and they brought it up and they said you’re going to turn into your dad if you keep doing stuff like this and I just blew it away. It went in one ear and out the other.
DA: Let me ask you, have you been in rehab before?
AC: This is my nineteenth treatment center.
DA: How many?
DA: Nineteen. Wow.
AC: Nineteen. I’ve been in programs since I was thirteen years old.
DA: So you have quite a story to tell. Okay you’ve been to several different treatment centers. What made this one different or the same?
AC: Every time I’ve always gone home, I’m from Boston, Massachusetts, and it’s not the place to be if you know a lot of people using drugs. I was using a lot and it, you know, I was always in programs in the Boston area and I’d always go straight home from the treatment centers and I never changed my surroundings. I’d always be hanging out with the same friends who were using and I had relapsed right when I go back. This time, you know, I came down to Florida where I don’t know anybody and I’ve changed my whole surroundings and now I’m going to a halfway house and I’m going to get treatment and I’m going to be down here and I’m going to try to change my life down here.
DA: Smart move, you’ve learned that it didn’t work the other way. Right?
AC: It doesn’t work.
DA: Let me ask, what would you say to anybody that was struggling with an addiction? Are people able to get over it on their own? Or you think…I mean you’ve been to a lot of treatments with people using different things, besides opiates.
AC: Yeah. You have to, you know there’s an easy way in and there’s an easy way out. You can either go the easy way or you can go the hard way. If you live your life not doing drugs I guarantee you’re going to live a life, live a good life. If you go back to using drugs then it’s just going to get worse and worse, I’ve noticed the past couple of years and if you stop using, your life’s just gonna…you gotta also go through the AA and NA principles, you gotta go through the steps, you gotta get a sponsor, you gotta go to meeting because that’s what’s gonna, you know, that’s what’s gonna keep you clean.
DA: Yeah. Support your recovery.
AC: Yeah you need support. You can’t do it alone.
DA: And what happened meanwhile to your school when all this was happening? Did you drop out?
AC: Yeah I dropped out when I was 15 and you know, opiates you know, opiate and school don’t really go well, you know, you can’t be nodding off in school. People usually don’t notice because, you know, everyone knows there’s some kids in school that just sleep through classes and that’s what I was. I used to just sleep through all my classes but nobody used to know I was high. I knew I was high but no one else did. And, you know, it’s very hard just thinking about, you know, yeah I dropped out but I can change my life.
DA: And what are you doing? So are you on track to get your GED, is that your goal?
AC: Yeah. At this halfway house I’m going to there’s a GED program and I’m going to have a job and I’m gonna get my GED. I’m going to take it.
DA: How is your relationship with your mom now? How’s that working?
AC: It’s unbelievable. She’s like so excited for this new experience for both of us, you know. You’re an addict, but your family also goes through a lot when you’re an addict you know they start… you know your parents can’t change you, you have to change yourself. That’s pretty much it.
DA: Now did you have an intervention when you came here or did you come here willingly?
AC: No, I came here willingly. Like I came here myself because I knew I had a problem.
DA: Well we’re very proud of you. You’ve done a really good job and we’re real excited and of course I’m excited to hear that you’re getting your GED, you’ve been working, you know, a lot trying to prep yourself for that and you’ve realized, by yourself, that going home didn’t work for you.
DA: We’re excited to hear how it goes from here after. Please keep in contact.
AC: I definitely will.
DA: Let us kind of know how things are going. It’s very important, your message to other people as yourself that have fallen into, you know, I would say the grips of addiction.
DA: It’s hard letting go, right? It doesn’t let go of you.
AC: So hard.
DA: So you did it and you look great.
DA: Big difference from when you came in.
DA: I think you’re going to be successful this time.
AC: Thank you. Thank you very much.
DA: I think you’ve freed yourself from it, right?
AC: Yeah. Me too.
DA: Alright, well we’re going to be praying and rooting for you and we’d like for you to keep in contact with us so we know what’s happening with you and we’d love for you to come back and speak at one of the family workshops because it’s very important that parents hear your story and kids your same age. It can really impact them and maybe make them realize that there is hope after nineteen rehabs.
AC: Yeah. There’s hope.
DA: There is hope still and you didn’t give up.
DA: You know? And they say try, try again.
AC: Yep, that’s exactly right.
DA: And you did it and you’re making it this time and I think we all feel that you’re very serious about your recovery now and you’re on the path to a new life. Congratulations!
AC: Thank you.
DA: Thank you.
Teen “Glow Parties” are billed as safe, alcohol-free fun for those who are under the legal drinking age of 21. However, parents may not realize that these “glow” or “hyper-glow” parties are a breeding ground for drug use and sexual predators. The parties are massive and draw large crowds with some patrons as young as 16 years old. The pseudo-raves involve pulsating techno-music, glow sticks, and strobe lights lighting up the dance floor. According to this article, a “Hyperglow Party” was going to be held in Sayreville, N.J. until a “scheduling conflict” shut the even down. However, Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Andrew Carey said his investigators applied just enough pressure to cancel the party.
Carey also had this to say about the event: “Just because an event is advertised for young people under 21, it does not mean that it is safe to attend. When it comes to club parties, the opposite is often true. Parents need to realize that such events are dangerous places due to the availability of the illicit drugs, as well as the presence of sexual predators, whose goal is to take advantage of incapacitated minors.”
Why the big fuss about a teenage party? Although it may seem as if the parties are safe for young people, they’re not. Many teenagers show up drunk to the alcohol-free events or they bring their own liquor concealed in water bottles, according to this article. The parties are also a major hub for drugs like molly, which is perceived by many young people as being a fun, socially acceptable drug to try.
Don’t let your teenager become another statistic. Make sure that he or she knows the dangers of trying drugs, especially molly which is usually little more than a combination of amphetamines and bath salts. These drugs can have long-term consequences on the user, including death. One electronic music festival was shut down halfway through the weekend when two people took molly and died later.