Heroin

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  • We’re addressing heroin today because of the extreme risk it poses to the kids in our community.
  • Let’s cover the basics about heroin. The drug is a highly addictive opioid, which is derived from the opium poppy plant. Examples of legal opioids are Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, and Codeine – ingredients in well-known prescription pain medications. Heroin can be sold as a white or brownish powder, or as a black sticky substance known as “black tar heroin,” which is generally less pure than the powder form. It is known as Big H, China White, Mexican Brown, Brown Sugar, Smack, Dope, Junk, Skag. Here in {YOUR COMMUNITY} it is known as {LOCAL NAME} Heroin can be snorted, smoked, or injected. Snorting is the usual method for first-time users. Nearly all regular users end-up injecting – the most efficient method of ingestion (“bigger bang for the buck”).
  • What are the effects of heroin?Short term effects of heroin include a feeling of euphoria.  The parts of the brain affected by heroin also control automatic processes that are critical for life, such as breathing (respiration), blood pressure, but it also causes drowsiness, and decreases heart rate.  One of the most serious long-term effects of heroin is addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Addiction, heroin is “particularly addictive because it enters the brain so rapidly.” --NOTE
  • When it comes to heroin, too many parents say “not my kid” – it is simply unimaginable that my kid might ever get involved with this horrible and dangerous drug. Part of our thinking about this comes from the 70’s and 80’s, when we thought of heroin users as “junkies” –people whose addictions had taken over their lives; or “other” people from “another” world – a world into which no one we knew would ever sink. But, today’s teens have a different view – remember that when perception of risk and social disapproval drop, use tends to rise? Today’s kids’ understanding of the risk of trying heroin is lower than we’d like it to be; as is their sense of social disapproval.
  • Only 57 percent of teens see a great risk in trying heroin once or twice. That means four out of ten kids don’t see a great risk of trying – quite an alarming statistic. More than one in four high school seniors say that heroin is “fairly” or “very easy” to get. More shocking, one in eight 8th graders see heroin the same way. In the past, regular users had to inject heroin, but now users can snort heroin due to its higher purity. The ability to snort the drug eliminates a couple of key barriers to trial – the fear of needles and injecting, and the stigma attached to those who inject.  
  • [click through pictures while speaking]The pictures you’re seeing come from drugfree.org/memorials, an online community where friends and family of those who’ve died from drug abuse can share pictures and memories of their loved one. So, while parents hope and pray that they can say, “not my kid,” that’s what these kids’ parents may have said as well. We as a community, have to start saying, “yes, it could be our kids.”
  • As parents and caring adults, it is important for us to understand that the significant prevalence of abuse among teens of prescription drugs, which was not a significant factor when you were a teen, has increased the risk of exposure to and trial of heroin. The abuse of opioid presciption drugs by teens is now widespread …  Every day 2,500 teens try Rx medications for the first time. Rx drugs are the most commonly abused drugs among 12 to 13 year olds.
  • Teens abuse prescription drug,s because they see them as being easy to get; they’re considered “clean” – after all the government says it’s ok to use them; and they are non-addictive. In short, their perception of risk is low. A bigger concern is that many parents see these drugs the same way. Too many take the attitude “they’re only pills.” The ease of access is also troubling. The Partnership’s research shows that teens get the prescription drugs they abuse from: Friends/Family for free (52 percent)They take them from a Friend/Relative without asking (19 percent)They purchase from Friend/Relative (34 percent) It is also important to know that opioid pain medications are among the most widely abused prescription medications. This introduces the user to the same kind of high delivered by heroin.
  • Kids normally start drug use with cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana. Before prescription drug abuse became prevalent, it was a huge jump to go from there to using “harder” drugs like cocaine and heroin. Now, the Rx experience facilitates an easier transition in the progression. So how exactly does this happen?
  • First, you become addicted to prescription pain medication.  Then you crave that opiate high. This craving leads to a search for a stronger and more powerful high. For many, this search leads to heroin. And, in some areas, heroin can actually be less expensive than the illegal purchase of prescription drugs.
  • So – as parents, what can we look for? Many symptoms are behavioral – Displays of hostility toward othersSlowed and/or slurred speech; andVery little motivation, and no desire to form future plans But parents can also look for other signs of abuse, such as:Runny nose or constant sniffingLethargy, nodding off; andVomiting Finally, there are clear signs of use such as possession of drug paraphernalia or injection marks on arms or legs. But above all, trust your gut. If something seems to be wrong, trust your instincts.
  • So – what can you do to prevent heroin use? As we have said, keep talking, and make heroin and prescription drug abuse part of the conversation. Be sure to point out the connection between opioid prescription painkiller abuse and heroin. Take any substance abuse seriously. Fortunately, most people who use alcohol, pot or pills will not go on to use heroin or other “harder” drugs, but almost everyone who uses heroin started with other substances. Know what prescription drugs you have in your home, and dispose of them properly. Ask friends and family – places where your kids may go – to do the same. Also – model proper use whenever you use any medication. Read and follow labels. Don’t share medications with other adults, and only use prescription drugs under a physician’s care. The example you set can be a powerful one.Get the thought of “not my kid” out of your mind. You may look at your child, and it may seem improbable, but you need to know that all kinds of kids – including good kids, smart kids, “well-rounded” kids – use heroin.
  • Heroin

    1. 1. What is Heroin• Highly addictive opioid – Related to other opioids, such as prescription pain medications: Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Codeine• Sold as: – White or brownish powder – Black sticky substance – “black tar heroin”• Other names – Big H, China White, Mexican Brown, Brown Sugar, Smack, Dope, Junk, Skag• Can be snorted, smoked, or injected
    2. 2. Short- and Long-term Effects• Feel a “rush” of euphoria• Warm flushing of the skin• Drowsiness• Severely decreased heart rate• Breathing severely slowed• Addiction – “Heroin is particularly addictive, because it enters the brain so rapidly.” -- NIDA, 2005
    3. 3. Not MY Kid …• 1970s-1980s: Public perception of heroin for “junkies” only• Teens today have a different view – Perception of risk is troubling – Many teens find it easy to get
    4. 4. Perception of Risk / Easy Access / Reduced Stigma• Only 57% of teens (12-17) see great risk in trying heroin once or twice• Heroin is “fairly” or “very easy” to get – 12 percent of 8th graders – 15 percent of 10th graders – 27 percent of 12th graders• Increased purity makes snorting possible – Reduces stigma of/aversion to injection
    5. 5. Yes,ourKids.
    6. 6. Rx / Heroin Connection• For many, heroin use starts with abusing opioid prescription (Rx) pain medications• Every day 2,500 teens try Rx medications for the first time• Rx drugs are the most commonly abused drugs among 12 to 13 year olds
    7. 7. Why are teens abusing Rx drugs?• Teens (and many parents) think Rx drugs are: – Safe – Clean – Not Addictive• Rx drugs Easy to Get – Get for free from Friends/Family (52%) – Take from Friend/Relative without asking (19%) – Purchase from Friend/Relative (34%)
    8. 8. Rx New Step in Drug Ladder heroin, meth, crack cocaine shrooms, ecstasy Prescription / over-the-counter drugs (Rx/OTC) liquor, marijuana cigarettes, beer/wineRx abusers are more likely to add a 3rd rung in the progression
    9. 9. Rx Abuse to Heroin Use• Become dependent or addicted to prescription pain medication• Want a stronger more powerful high• Rx drugs expensive and heroin is a cheaper alternative ($40-60/pill versus $5-$12/bag)
    10. 10. Signs of Use• Displays of hostility • Runny nose or toward others constant sniffing• Slowed and/or slurred • Lethargy, nodding off speech • Vomiting• Very little motivation, • Possession of drug and no desire to form paraphernalia future plans • Injection marks on arms or legs
    11. 11. Local heroin stats/stories• Add local information
    12. 12. What You Can Do• Talk with your child – continuously• Express disapproval of any drug use• Monitor: prescription drugs in your home and model proper use• Don’t think your child would not consider using heroin

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