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When you think of a heroin addict, what image comes to mind? Do you picture a middle class kid in the suburbs? Probably not, but heroin addiction is growing in the suburbs all over the United States.

Why?

One factor could be the steady increase in prescription drug use and abuse. If a young teen finds a bottle of Vicodin or OxyContin in a medicine cabinet, and starts taking the pills that are left, he or she is then going to want that feeling again. What do you do when you need an opiate (Vicodin, Oxycontin, and heroin are all opiates) because you start to feel the excruciating withdrawal symptoms?

Easy To Find Prescription Drugs

While it does not seem too hard to find prescription drugs, it is even easier, and much cheaper, to get heroin. Without a prescription, of an explanation at all, suburban kids and young adults are not thinking about the effects of these drugs, they just want to get high and feel good.

Has education been lacking, thinking that heroin is only an inner-city or homeless problem? Have major metropolitan areas, like Chicago, been in denial about the reality of heroin addiction in its city and suburbs?

Mothers Of Addicts

Mothers of young heroin addicts, like P.J. Newberg, are making an effort to spread the word that our children are using heroin, whether we ignore it or not. Her daughter, Paula, has been in and out of jail and rehab for the last two years, and she continues to battle the addiction that has a tight grip on her life.

Young people are also speaking up to raise awareness. 24-year-old Stephanie Kuhns shares her story about the near-death heroin lifestyle that took the lives of her brother and several of her close friends. She hopes that young people will listen and not make the same choices she has made; she wants her life back and luckily she is still alive to try.

Blog post by: Marissa Maldonado
photo credit: thephotographymuse via photopin cc

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