More Children in Foster Care Due to Opioid Crisis

You may think the fact that there is an opioid epidemic taking thousands of lives is bad enough, but consider the toll on children. There are so many negative points of opioid abuse but the effects on children have to be one of the worst. Continue reading “More Children in Foster Care Due to Opioid Crisis” »

Millennials and Their Parents Hit Hardest By Opioid Crisis

Recently, Columbia University discovered that Millennials and Baby Boomers appear to be the age groups hardest hit by the opioid crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), over 2 million Americans were abusing opioids in 2015, including heroin and prescription opioids, such as painkillers like Vicodin (hydrocodone), OxyContin (oxycodone) and codeine. Continue reading “Millennials and Their Parents Hit Hardest By Opioid Crisis” »

Few Young People Get Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioids

Although the United States is going through an opioid crisis, too few pediatricians and family doctors are trained in how to appropriately address and treat opioid addiction. Treating teenagers can be difficult enough, but those addicted to such volatile substances can become an even bigger danger to themselves and others if they aren’t getting to right help to come off the drugs. Continue reading “Few Young People Get Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioids” »

Parents: Talk to Your Teens About Opiates

From a very young age, it is drilled into our heads that heroin is bad. However, we are also taught to trust professional adults like doctors and to listen to what they say. If a teen gets an injury and is prescribed an opiate painkiller or they just hear that taking them can get them high, they are more likely to believe it is safe. If your child found heroin in your medicine cabinet, they would be terrified, but because the feeling towards opiates is not as worrisome is causing a deadly crisis. Continue reading “Parents: Talk to Your Teens About Opiates” »

Fentanyl: A Big Part of the Opiate Epidemic

Fentanyl is an opioid that is up to 50 times more potent than heroin, just 2 milligrams of powdered fentanyl can be deadly. Last year, authorities seized at least 668 kilograms of fentanyl — that’s enough to kill every American. Continue reading “Fentanyl: A Big Part of the Opiate Epidemic” »

Teen Athletes at High Risk For Developing Opiate Addiction

Parents of teen athletes are typically focused on their child’s performance and fun-level in their chosen sports. They want to see their teens excel towards winning games and matches as well as catching the eye of scouts and earning scholarships. However, stress and injuries go hand in hand with both athletics and addiction. Painkillers are a highly expensive addiction and it’s only a matter of time before the students move on to a much cheaper opioid — heroin. Continue reading “Teen Athletes at High Risk For Developing Opiate Addiction” »

Parents, Know the Signs of Heroin Use

Recently, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s heroin-induced death made the headlines. People pronounced his death tragic and surprising, although the actor had struggled for years with heroin use.

Hoffman’s death has undoubtedly raised awareness about heroin use, but people still may not realize that heroin is not a drug limited to celebrities or urban gangs. Nationwide and even here in Kansas City, heroin use among suburban teens and adults is on the rise.

If you are a parent, it’s key that you understand the facts about heroin and learn to recognize the signs of heroin use among your teens.

Continue reading “Parents, Know the Signs of Heroin Use” »

Teen Drug Use: It’s Not Just an Inner City Thing

You might think that your children and teens are less likely to experiment with drugs if you live in one of Kansas City’s many lovely suburban areas like Overland Park, Liberty, Blue Springs, or Lee’s Summit. But just because your address is in a suburb doesn’t mean that your child isn’t engaged in what you might think are “inner city” activities.

Although many drugs first rose to prominence in more densely populated urban areas, studies have shown that illegal drug abuse among teens is spreading out from the inner city and reaching into the suburbs. In research conducted by Suniya S. Luthar of Columbia and Dr. Karen D’Avanzo of Yale, suburban teenagers reported much higher levels of substance abuse than inner city teenagers. Instances of prescription drug abuse and heroin use by teenages have soared in the past few years.

Although high costs and dangers associated with drug use once kept suburban youths away from illegal drugs, we can’t deny the clear shift:  teen drug use is no longer just an “inner city thing.”

Increased Teen Heroin Abuse in the Suburbs

Heroin use in the United States has skyrocketed since 2002. As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports, there has been an 80% increase in first-time use of heroin by 12 to 17 year olds. And the Drug Enforcement Administration has seized more heroin in 2012 than before: the amount doubled to 2,059 lbs in 2012 from 1,334 lbs in 2008. Teenage drug users are a huge part of the overall heroin increase.Teen Drug Use in the Suburbs Not Inner City | Test Smartly Labs

In particular, cities surrounding Chicago, like Naperville, IL, have seen a remarkable increase in the amount of teenage heroin users in the past few years, demonstrating the shift of teenage drug use from the inner city to the suburbs. In Naperville, 2 of 6 people who died of heroin overdoses in 2011 were teenagers, and more suburban teen drug users have lost their lives to heroin since then. Also in 2011, felony drug arrests among Naperville teenagers saw a 78% increase and a 450% increase in heroin arrests specifically.

Clearly heroin use has shifted from the inner city to the suburbs, but why? Experts say that  it is due in part to the crackdown on prescription drug abuse. As law enforcement and pharmaceutical companies have made it more difficult for suburban teens to access opiates in pill form, they‘ve turned to the less expensive, easier-to-access form: heroin.

Fight Teen Drug Abuse in the Suburbs with ARCpoint

It’s important to be aware of the shifts in teenage drug use from the inner city to the suburbs. Even if your town has a squeaky clean image, there is most likely a teenage drug user in your midst, whether it’s your own child, their friend, or a kid in your neighborhood.

If you have a teenager and you are concerned about their potential drug use, you should talk to them about the dangers of drug abuse. Test Smartly Labs of Kansas City can provide more information about teenage drug use. We also offer confidential testing at our Kansas City  facilities so that you can help keep your teenager clean.