Heroin in Huntington Beach High Schools

Heroin in Huntington Beach High Schools

In Huntington Beach, California, we have a serious drug problem in our high schools – alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, cocaine, heroin, and more.  Heroin, you ask?  Yes.

The Heroin Problem

Heroin is one of the top drug problems in the Huntington Beach High Schools, and it is more addictive and deadly than ever before.  Every year, high school heroin use and deaths are going up.

Heroin is cheaper and stronger than ever before.  In the 1970s, heroin was about 3 percent pure.  Today, it is 60 percent pure or higher.  The more potent the heroin, the more addictive it is.  Our high school students do not realize how addictive it is until it is too late.

How Did We Get Here

Heroin addiction has become much more of a problem in Huntington Beach High Schools the past few years because of the connection with illegal prescription drugs.

High school students often start with prescription drugs, such as Oxycodone (the actual drug contained in OxyContin brand pills), which they can easily purchase in the high schools for $20 to $60.  They become addicted to the prescription drugs and then begin looking for cheaper alternatives to maintain the high.

Our high school students then find out, through friends or dealers pushing heroin, that heroin offers a similar type of high that is more intense and cheaper.  They buy a bag of heroin for $3 to $10 and typically start off snorting the drug.  Within a month, they are injecting the drug.

The transition to heroin has also accelerated in the last two years due to an unintended consequence to a reformulation of OxyContin.  The makers of OxyContin changed the formula in 2010 to make it harder to crush or dissolve the tablet.  The goal was to discourage kids from snorting or injecting the drug.  Some kids found ways around the reformulation, but many simply moved to heroin as the easier drug to use and still get the same sort of high.

What is the likelihood that your child may be abusing prescription drugs?  The current California Student Survey (CSS) sponsored by the California Attorney General’s Office found that 37% of 9th grade students and 50% of 11th grade students reported using illicit / illegal drugs or diverted prescription drugs at least once in their lifetime.  The prescription drugs used most frequently are prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin or Vicodin.  Yes, your child is at risk.

What Should I Look for as a Parent

As a parent, we need to understand what to look for.  Do not presume that your child is immune.  Heroin is easy to get in Huntington Beach High Schools and you must be watchful.

Go through your child’s room and trash.  Heroin is often smoked or snorted, in which case you are looking for tinfoil, empty pen capsules, and rolled up dollar bills.  Heroin can also be injected, so you are also looking for needles.

The heroin itself is typically in a black tar form that looks similar to asphalt or a dried-up raisin.  Heroin is often wrapped in a balloon or a plastic wrapper.

For more about what to look for as a parent, read the article Ten Signs Your Teen May Be Using Drugs courtesy of Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California.

When parents and families are facing a child’s drug addiction, it often seems there is nowhere to turn.  There are resources available but they can be difficult to find.  Here is a list of resources for parents of Orange County teens struggling with drug addiction – Teen Drug Addiction Resources.