Heroin use has been on the rise since 2007 but so many parents have not talked to their children about the dangers of this drug. Maybe you’re one of them. You may be thinking:

  • Where we live, heroin won’t cross my child’s path.
  • My child is terrified of needles. No way would he/she try heroin.
  • Heroin may attract some kids, but not mine.

If you share similar thoughts, you’re not alone. Heroin has changed along with those who use it and those who sell it. First, let’s get the facts straight. We’ll begin by debunking a few common myths.

Myth Buster #1– Heroin is predominantly found and used in urban areas only.
Fact: That’s no longer the case. It has made its way into suburban and rural communities throughout the nation.

Myth Buster #2 – Injections, or “shooting up,” is how heroin is used.
Fact: Injection is not the only method (as it once was). Heroin can also be smoked or snorted – no needles required!

Myth Buster #3 – The historical stereotype of a typical heroin user remains today’s user.
Fact: Erase that image! That student in your child’s advanced biology class is now just as typical of a user and old stereotypes.

So if heroin users and dealers are in our communities, what action should we take to educate and protect our children from drug abuse? Here are three tips to get started:

  1. Talk to your kids – openly and frequently. Don’t be afraid of the conversation. Talk so much that it’s no longer uncomfortable. An article by The National Crime Prevention Council offers sound advice on talking to kids, rules, friends and getting involved.
  2. Check your medicine cabinets – Statistics show that four out of five new heroin users first abused prescription painkillers before moving to the cheaper, more accessible version – heroin. Inventory your drugs, lock up highly addictive opiates and properly discard of drugs no longer needed.
  3. Educate yourself first – Be aware of the signs of substance abuse – normal household items can be used to administer drugs. The Robby’s Voice website has many valuable resources including the Search Your House – Search the Rooms document
  4. Say something – In all the airports today, TSA signs read “if you see something, say something.” Don’t be afraid. Speaking up early is so important to the health of your child and your family. It’s better to speak up and be wrong, then to not speak up and be right.

For more information on heroin abuse, visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse or Drug Free Action Alliance Know Publication.