Excellent article on young people using heroin

From Business Insider, of all places – they seem to be hiring (a few) real reporters, finally.

The entire article is well worth reading, but here’s the cautionary paragraph for Greenwich parents:

The biggest reason for the current heroin epidemic is the explosion of prescription opioid use over the last decade. As has been well-documented, the widespread prescription of opioids to treat pain and the subsequent diversion of said drugs for illicit uses created a huge, new population of users addicted to opioids.

I work with many, many young heroin users, as a volunteer, and almost all of them tell me they started on Oxycontin, and only switched to heroin when oxeyes became too expensive. Frighteningly, and ironically, a huge percentage of those kids tell me they first got hooked on oxyies when they were prescribed for sports injuries. “Do sports, not drugs” has it exactly wrong. (As an aside, I started this work with the idea I’d be working with young alcoholics but, while the drug users also have alcohol problems, there seem to be almost no pure-alcoholics left in the under-twenty crowd. That’s too bad, because, in my experience, alcoholism is easier to treat, at least a little).

Doctors are clueless on this stuff – I’ve read that they get a couple of hours on addiction in medical school, although that may be an overstatement for effect; regardless, they’ll prescribe large quantities to young athletes, with refills, and fail to monitor them for signs of addiction.

So if doctors can’t do it, you as a parent have to. I can guarantee you that young junkies now come from some of the finest families in the country – this is not a ghetto plague, and it can happen to even your Harvard body, or girl.



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23 responses to “Excellent article on young people using heroin

  1. Anon99

    If they’re running ads during the Super Bowl for a drug to mitigate opioid induced constipation, then we are prescribing way too many painkillers.

    • I’ve read that the US consumes something like 95% of all opiate prescriptions, which probably only means the drug companies haven’t ramped up their overseas marketing yet.

  2. Read nothing yet knowing Plan Red 2nd Stage (after single payer HEALTH insurance)is SINGLE DRUG SOURCE….competition not allowed….

  3. Greenwich Gal

    I’m appalled at the Big Medical/pharma industrial complex and how it has been allowed to prey on Americans …especially young kids.

  4. Cos Cobber

    I took this stuff for about a week once….didn’t like it at all. Flush it down the toilet as soon as tylenol could do the job. Guess I was fortunate.

  5. Fatdaddy

    Not for nothing, but the price of junk has declined with out involvement in protecting nations that export the base. Same with coca.
    While there were a few rough patches with the SA cartels, it is smoothed out and talco blanco was never cheaper or more plentiful.
    It has very little to do with Big Pharma and EVERYTHING to do with American foreign policy.

    • Anonymous

      I blame Malloy

      • Anonymous

        Yes, and you should blame Malloy. Last year our state had 500 deaths due to opiates, mostly our young people. And from Malloy, all I hear is crickets. Malloy would rather talk about gun control and taking away our second amendment rights. He could care less about drugs killing our citizens. I blame the media too, who are in bed with the Democratic politicians.

        What is really a shame is that the Democrat political leaders claim to fame is their support to the disadvantaged. It is all BS. They have a lock on the state political process shutting republicans out, and so nothing for the folks who need help the most as they die every day from drugs. This is one of the reasons I find Democrats repugnant.

        • I don’t really see what Malloy or any other politician can do about illegal drugs – certainly harsher penalties haven’t worked. And for treatment to work, people have to want to stop – most of the ones I work with don’t.
          What could help, though, is better pain treatment education for doctors, so they don’t automatically turn to opiates as the first course of treatment.

        • Anon99

          This is a nationwide problem that has nothing to do with with political affliations of state governments. Perhaps you have some examples of how Republican govenors and legislators have successfully dealt with this in other states?

    • In fact, the abundance of cheap heroin can be traced to our foreign policy. Before we drove out the Taliban from Afghanistan, they were executing opium growers along with all the other sinners, but they’ve come back and, realizing what cash cow the stuff is, are now producing huge amounts and exporting it to infidels – I understand that the cost has dropped 75%, and the purity is so high that the ODs are zooming.

  6. Walt

    Dude –

    There is nothing sadder than a young life lost to drug addiction. Unless it is a post by the retard. That could drive anyone to drugs. And it probably has for many. And I am not sure even opium has the ability to fix the brain numbing damage reading his posts will cause. AND STOP DOING ANONYMOUS!! And stupid name posts. WE ALL KNOW IT’S YOU!! You retard.

    We had a deal you would do one long, excruciating, 5000 word post. Under your own name, so we wouldn’t have to read it. HONOR YOUR PROMISES!!

    But we do over prescribe meds to our youth. And that is a big part of the problem. But the retard should take more. Absolutely.

    Your Pal,

    • Greenwich Gal

      Walt, sweetie – just wondering – how do you know it’s the same guy? I mean a bunch or morons post here.

  7. peg

    I understand as perhaps few can… 😦

  8. Last spike in self administered horror?
    LBJ administration late 60s with lack of faith in government.
    War not believed in.
    Today, youth are taught to be guilty of ruining the planet simply by being here, especially if you are white with money.
    Lack of sense of place & purpose.
    Sports, outdoor activities, team members watching (including whiffle ball) out for you a way to feel counted not discounted.
    Pain killers can make you feel better not think better…..
    Restore faith in our Town & Country good place to start….

  9. Anonymous

    Fairfield county has, if I recall, one of the the highest prescription painkiller addiction & overdose rates per capita (that means as a % of population, for you women’s studies majors) in the country. Mommy’s little helper is, sadly, Johnny & Susie’s little helper too.

  10. peg

    My own two cents:

    For many, narcotic medication can be a helpful aid during a short period where significant pain relief is needed. After surgery, migraines, and other similar ailments.

    What is so difficult to determine, however, is the individual nature of response and propensity of addiction. Some can take strong opiates for short periods of time, relieve pain – and that is that. Others, with very short use, rapidly become addicted. Stopping the drug is enormously difficult, in contrast to others who have little to no trouble.

    We do need far greater education for everyone on this topic. We also need far more enlightenment about the fact that addicts are not “evil people” – any more than those of us who succumb to cancer or diabetes or a host of other illnesses are terrible.

    Thank you for your post, Christopher.

  11. Publius

    There has been an interesting swing in the medical profession regarding pain medication over the past 2-3 decades. If you look at discussion about pain management from the 1980’s there was a general thought (I hate to use the word consensus) that DR’s were not providing enough pain management to their patients and that they were needlessly suffering pain. The situation was that many Dr.’s had not fully jumped on the more is more pharma bandwagon. That began to change in the 1990’s when the pharma reps and the drug conferences sponsored by the pharma co’s took off based on a whole new series of drugs to treat more chronic conditions (think statin drugs for cholesterol) . I have many doc friends and we talked about this on numerous occasions. Their belief is that while the pharma industry made great strides in providing a better quality of life and in some cases extending life span, there were some significant abuses as well that included opioids.

    These medicines do provide improved pain management for those that need it. I am not a fan of jumping on “Big Pharma” because their products are abused. It takes at least 2 to tango and in this case it is doc and parent or doc and patient. The parent/patient tends to be blind on this issue and the burden falls solely on the doctor, that in the age of O-Care is overwhelmed with administrative stuff that pulls them away from a true doctor patient relationship. That is no excuse but that is what is happening. You are responsible for your own actions or that of the minors in your family and you have to be vigilant all the time.

  12. reader

    There was a 21 year old from my child’s GCDS graduating class who died from a heroin overdose last spring. This problem is everywhere.

    • Three different sets of parents who travelled from Greenwich to attend John’s funeral had lost children in their early-20s to drugs, so we all shared our pain. John died of cancer, but drugs are just another form of that disease, in a sad way.