There is an area in Chicago that teens are referring to as the “Heroin Highway”. This name seems rather harmless, but the truth is that it’s a code nickname for an area notorious for selling heroin. Addicts and experimentalists from all around the Chicago metro area and even the suburbs frequent this area.
In fact, this “Heroin Highway” has become so familiar to teenagers that the local Wauconda High School held a Heroin Highway presentation to make kids aware of the dangers of using heroin. The presentation consisted of guest speakers who spoke about personal experiences and struggles they’ve had with heroin. Heroin seemed to have died off for a while, but for whatever reason, its popularity has grown once again.
OxyContin’s New Formula to Blame for Rise in Heroin Use
The recent surge in heroin use may be attributed to the many painkiller addicts frantically turning to it in attempts to replace their current drug of choice. A recent change in the formula of the painkiller known as OxyContin leaves the pills crush-proof, and therefore difficult for abusers to snort or inject. This has many painkiller addicts turning to heroin, as the pills are no longer an option. Heroin is more available, less expensive and much more potent. In fact, a study of more than 2,500 people with opioid dependence found a 17 percent drop in OxyContin abuse with the 2010 arrival of the new formula.
During the same time period, heroin abuse doubled. This poses yet another problem: when users switch over from painkillers to heroin, they don’t really know exactly what they’re getting. With painkillers the dose is engraved right in the pill, but heroin is usually cut with other chemicals, which raises the potential for an overdose.
Know the Warning Signs
Heroin addiction is a very dangerous problem that may affect any number of the 3.7 million people who have tried it in their lives. If you are concerned that a friend or loved one may be addicted to this drug, there are several key warning signs and symptoms to look for. Heroin is a powdery substance that is usually white or brown in color, depending on its purity. It is most often packaged in some kind of small plastic baggie or wrapping. Some items to be on the lookout for are straws, razor blades, pipes, small rolled up pieces of paper, spoons, lighters or candles and needles. These are all items that assist users with prepping and consuming heroin.
Along with using heroin come a variety of effects. Many of the following symptoms and personality traits are indicators of heroin addiction:
• Lack of motivation
• Small pupils
• Loss of drive and ambition towards life and prior goals
• Withdrawal from family and friends
• A “lost” look in the eyes
• Difficulty speaking
• Poor self-image
• Shortness of breath
• Frequent nausea/vomiting
• Poor memory
• Alternating between sleepiness and alertness
• Injection sites/infections
If you think someone is using heroin go to www.narconon.com; we have counselor ready 24 hours a day through our helpline.