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10 Signs of Heroin Use in Tweens and Teens

Written by Lori Wildenberg

Sunday, February 2, Philip Seymour Hoffman died of an apparent heroin overdose. This brought the topic of drug use back to main stream attention. 

We have become aware of kids using prescription drugs but now we hear heroin is make a comeback; reminiscent of the 70s and early 80s drug culture. (Click here for more information)

In one of the parenting courses I’m teaching, I asked, Why heroin?

A  mom an dad who are sadly intimately knowledgeable about this issue answered, “It’s cheap and easy to use.”  After doing a little research myself, I concur, yes that is what the studies show. Heroin  is affordable and can be sniffed, smoked, or shot-up.  

Their child, a good kid, a smart kid, didn’t fit the profile of a drug user but that is what he was. So why does a smart good kid take drugs. The reasons are as unique as the child. Here are a few: 

1. To fit in socially                                                                                                      syringe1

2. Use as an escape

3. Rebellion

4. YOLO  (You Only Live Once. Why not try it?)

We don’t anticipate our kids will use or abuse drugs but studies show that 40% of kids try marijuana by the age of 18. Some of those individuals move onto harder drugs. (http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/heroin/a-very-slippery-slope.html )

If you think your child is using heroin here are a few signs to watch for:

1. Small pupils or pupils that don’t respond to light

2. Needle marks in the arms or legs (the child wears long sleeves  or pants even in warm weather)

3. Unusual or changed  sleeping habits.

4. Vomiting, coughing, or sniffling                                                                                                                                                                                                        

5. Twitching

6. Loss of appitite

7. Poor hygiene

8. You may have missing shoelaces (used as tourniquet).

9. Spoons that are burned around the edges.

10. Stealing money

Continue to stay involved in your young person’s life. Pay attention to changes in your child’s behavior, friendships, schoolwork, or attendance. If you suspect drug use, look into it. Go ahead, search your child’s room. (Only do this it you believe something is going on, otherwise avoid this.) If you discover that your tween or teen is involved with drugs, seek professional help right away. This is a problem that will not get better by itself and will get worse with time. 

On February 25, over at www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com , I will continue this important conversation on kids and drugs.

I found this site particularly informative: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/drug_substance_abuse_addiction_signs_effects_treatment.htm

lori study2Lori Wildenberg
co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting ( a team of 17 faith, family, and education experts) 
Licensed Parent and Family Educator
author and speaker
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About the author

Lori Wildenberg

Lori Wildenberg co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting and Licensed Parent and Family Educator is passionate about coming alongside parents and encouraging them to parent well. She loves mentoring moms and dads and speaking on the topic of parenting. She is co-author of 3 parenting books including the recently published Raising Little Kids with Big Love and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love. Lori lives in Colorado with her husband and four children. Visit http://www.loriwildenberg.com or http://www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com for more information.