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06-13 Teenagers who use heroin are usually poly-drug users, finds study

Posted in Teens

Teenagers who use heroin are usually poly-drug users, finds study

Amid the ongoing opioid crisis affecting all the age groups, including teens, across the United States, a recent study by researchers from the New York University (NYU) has brought to light some startling facts related to heroin abuse among high school students. According to the study published recently in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, high school students who commonly use heroin do multiple drugs — on an average, five others. The researchers suggested that the treatment for heroin abuse among teenagers should start only after considering their probability of using multiple other drugs.

“It may be inadequate to focus on heroin and opioid use in isolation. Considering users’ overall drug use profiles appears to be important because the concurrent use of multiple drugs can exacerbate adverse health effects associated with heroin use such as overdose. A deeper understanding of how heroin users also currently use other drugs can help us to discern better prevention measures,” said Joseph Palamar, the lead author of the study and an associate professor of population health at the NYU School of Medicine.

The researchers used a sample of 327 high school seniors who used heroin during the past month to examine the way in which their recent heroin use was related to frequency of use of various substances. The sample was chosen from a survey of more than 92,000 students as a part of the Monitoring the Future study between 2010 and 2016. The researchers drew the following conclusions:

  • Heroin abuse increases the use of several other drugs, particularly depressants that include benzodiazepines as well as other opioids.
  • Alcohol was found to be one of the most commonly used drugs among those who use heroin.
  • A person using alcohol was considerably at a lower risk of using heroin frequently.
  • The frequency of simultaneous use of other drugs was reportedly high among those who used heroin around 10 to 39 times in the past month.
  • The frequency as well as the number of drugs being concurrently used were lower among those who used heroin 40 or more times in the past month. This drop was linked to increased costs and needs related to such a high level of heroin use.

Seeking treatment for heroin addiction

Heroin is a highly addictive opioid resulting in a number of side effects, including dry mouth, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, liver and kidney problems, and mental disorders like depression and anxiety. Studies show a strong link between non-medical prescription opioid users and heroin users. People who use prescription opioid painkillers for non-medical purposes are at a greater risk of using heroin.

More and more teens and young adults are abusing opioids, including heroin and painkillers. Heroin has become one of the most commonly used substances among teenagers. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), around 3,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 were currently using heroin. The official data also shows that 88,000 young adults aged between 18 and 25 were current heroin users.

It is important to understand that the abuse of heroin can cause permanent damage to an individual’s health. Therefore, it’s imperative to seek treatment for heroin addiction at the earliest to lead a healthy life. If your teen child is suffering from heroin addiction, it’s time to get him/her medical support. Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego specializes in treating substance use disorders in teens aged 12-17. We provide the best teen treatment for heroin addiction. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with a representative to know about the best way to detox from heroin and overcome teen heroin addiction.

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