Young Adult Heroin Overdoses – How and Why Do They Happen?

Young Adult Heroin Overdoses – How and Why Do They Happen?

At first glance over the many stories you hear all over the world about young people overdosing on drugs, it’s easy to scratch your head and wonder how these youngsters can be so stupid to take hard drugs and risk their lives. I am personally amazed at the recklessness many teenagers and young adults exhibit when it comes to “partying” or simply hanging out with their friends. These youngsters who fall into drug abuse all have one thing in common; they make the wrong choice when they are faced with someone offering them drugs.

Yesterday, my twenty-one year old nephew was found dead in his car in front of some nearby apartments by his father who had been looking for him all night after he didn’t come home. What did he die of?

A heroin overdose.

What? I’m having trouble coming to grips with what I just heard.

We’re talking about an only child who had everything; the love and family structure, the parental bonding, excellent morals and values.  This kid never wanted for anything! He was not a spoiled brat, either. He was an affectionate, loving, and warm kid who excelled in his studies. He did everything that was asked and expected of him and was very humble and appreciative. This young man was the center of his parent’s world.

How Did It Happen?

I’m glad you asked.

There were warning signs. Just a few months earlier, this youngster had attended court-ordered rehab for heroin addiction after being arrested for heroin possession. It had been happening under his parent’s noses. He would stay at a friend’s house and say he was coming home the following day. The parents were okay with that, not knowing about his late-night heroin addiction. After all, he wasn’t a kid anymore and if he at least called to tell them where he was, it was acceptable. On a handful of occasions over the past year, the parents simply thought he had too much to drink when he was dropped off at 2 in the morning by a friend at their house. They mistakenly addressed his problem as drinking and sought help for alcohol abuse before they found out about the heroin problem after the arrest. Of course, they suspected he was doing something other than just drinking but he always vehemently denied it. Until he got arrested.

Keep this in mind; we are not talking about neglectful parents here. We are talking about two responsible parents who made this child the center of their universe until the day he died. These are model parents who don’t have a drug history and rarely even drink alcohol.

Young adult heroin overdoses are more common than you think.After looking deeper into the story, a familiar story surfaced. This young man began partying and trying to fit in socially during his late teens and when he turned eighteen, it was as if he were free from all of his adolescent responsibilities. It was his moment to shine, to make all decisions for himself, and to use  his own judgment while learning from his mistakes. After all, he was going to be a college freshman, ready to face the world on his own so he could find himself through his own life experiences. It was a new beginning; so long childhood, welcome real world!

However, his teenage habits followed him like an unforgiving shadow. He was having trouble adjusting socially. He was retreating to his room and making his adjustments right there; through a syringe.

He had started taking heroin a year and a half earlier when he was at a party with strangers in his sophomore year at college. His best friend, also a heroin addict, got him to take the plunge. It was easy for him to try something new. He liked to escape reality and he liked his friends. They made him feel like he was part of “the clan”. The trouble was that most of his friends either smoked marijuana, snorted cocaine,or took their parent’s medications without their knowledge. To all of them, it was the “cool” thing to do. He thought, “Hey, everyone at this age experiments with drugs and alcohol, don’t they? This is normal.” He chose heroin.

Funny thing is; most of his friends were scared of heroin. They had heard how easy it was to get addicted and die of a heroin overdose. Why didn’t he feel this way? He could have easily gone on the Internet to see the disproportionate number of people who die from heroin versus virtually any other drug out there. Maybe that would have prevented him from getting in so deep.

Beware – For Yourself and Your Children’s Sake

If anything, I hope this true-life story wakes you up when it comes to the dangers of how easy it is to become addicted to drugs, specifically heroin and cocaine. Don’t ever think for one second this can’t happen to you or a loved one. The words, “I’ll try it just once,” can be the beginning of the end.

You can be the best parent in the world and still have a kid who becomes addicted to some type of drug to the point where their life is usually and instantly ruined forever. However, you can definitely put yourself in the best possible position to help your child avoid falling into the drug trap. You can do this by talking openly about it, by being a good role model, and by reminding them of peer pressure and how one person can ruin their lives if they let it happen.

The biggest key on how to prevent your child from taking drugs is to prepare them for “the moment of truth”.

“What is that?” you may ask.

The moment of truth happens to almost every single child on this planet. It’s the moment when your child is offered any type of drug by another person and how prepared they are to say “no” when it happens.

How prepared is your child?