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Heroin Addiction in Adolescents and Young Adults


While heroin addiction has leveled off or even declined in more areas, there has been a dramatic spike in teenage and young adult heroin addiction. There are many causes for this trend, but the major cause seems to be the comparison of heroin and opiates. Opiate use has become far more domesticated and widespread than ever before. Drugs like oxycontin and vicodin have troubled teenagers and troubled young adults more familiar with the effects of opioid medications, which, by extension, makes heroin seems less scary and not so exotic. 

Many teenagers and young adults no longer associate heroin with the horror stories of overdose and crippling addiction. Instead, they are now associating it with these relatively safe and familiar prescription drugs. Heroin is a narcotic, specifically an opiate, which is derived from morphine. For many young people today, prescription opioids can act as a gateway drug to heroin. 

The Effects of Heroin Use

When teenagers and young adults use heroin, they are immediately subjected into a state of euphoria. This euphoria makes intelligent and cognitive thinking difficult. Once the initial high has worn off or metabolized, the individual will become extremely drowsy and lethargic. The use of heroin depresses the breathing of the individual consuming it. Because of this, overdosing on heroin can be fatal, even if it is only one use.