How has heroin become a generational struggle? Our country is in the throes of a nationwide opioid epidemic that has led to a sudden upsurge in the death rate of overdoses by teens and young adults. A majority of these deaths were from heroin and prescription opioids.
As it turns out, your generation by birth may have a direct relationship to whether or not you have or if you will be attracted to trying heroin. Where does it all begin? We at Asheville Detox would like to speak with you today about heroin addiction and get to the bottom of that question.
Which Generation Has the Highest Risk of Becoming Addicted to Heroin?
The quick answer is that if you are a part of Generation Z, researchers say that you are more at risk of becoming addicted to heroin than any other age group. Not sure if this includes you? A member of Generation Z is anyone born between 1996 and the early to mid-2000s. Millennials run a close second. You are a Millennial if you were born between 1980 and 1995.
Why Has Heroin Addiction Become a Generational Struggle for Generation Z and Millennials?
1. Ease of Access to Pharmaceutical Drugs:
For a majority of adolescents, their addiction to opioids does not necessarily begin with injecting heroin. For most, it begins with a prescription for opioids that are prescribed by a doctor to relieve pain. With doctors passing out prescriptions like candy for opioids such as OxyContin and Vicodin, it is no wonder that young people so easily dip their toes into the waters of addiction.
With so many people having their hands on prescription opioids, it becomes easier and easier for those without a prescription to get their hands on opioids illegally. All they need to do is find someone with a prescription who is willing to sell them pills, and they can easily become hooked on them.
Over time, the pills stop doing the trick to make the user high anymore, as they have to take more and more to get the same effect. This is usually the point where there is a crossover effect and the individual decides to begin getting high on heroin instead. Heroin is cheaper and is easier to get.
2. The Social Media Connection:
Many experts believe that one of the main reasons that Generation Z has such a serious problem with addiction, in general, is that they are also so deeply addicted to social media. With Tik Tok and Instagram dictating the next viral trend for its viewers to try out, it’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. For example, fads such as the Benadryl challenge, where users take too much Benadryl and post their experiences can cost people their lives.
On social media, there is nothing stopping influencers from posting their opinions or actions regarding drug use. When young, impressionable people watch videos of people trying out different experiences for all of the world to see, this gives the impression that what they are doing is safe.
3. Increasing Mental Health Struggles:
According to the American Psychological Association, members of Generation Z are the most likely to report mental health concerns. Experts suggest that part of the reason for this is because of all of the negative outside events that are going on in the world today.
For example, mass shootings, in particular, have shown to be a significant source of stress for Generation Z. Racial inequality and political turmoil have also taken a toll.
They also report that Generation Z is also much more likely to report their mental health as fair or poor, according to an online Harris Poll conducted in 2018 on behalf of the APA. Many are diagnosed with severe depression, and a majority are not receiving any mental health treatment. With a decline in mental health, riskier behaviors such as substance abuse often follow.
How Heroin Addiction Happens
When you use heroin, it attaches to the opioid receptors in your brain. You immediately feel pleasure, in addition to foggy thinking. You may feel sleepy as your heart rate and breathing slow down. After the effects wear off, you may feel depressed and as a result, you want more of the drug to repeat the experience.
When you regularly use heroin, you will need more and more to achieve the same high, as your body develops a tolerance to it. At this point, your body becomes dependent on the drug. If you stop using heroin, you will experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Soon thereafter, your behavior will likely begin to change, to accommodate your complete dependency on heroin. At this point, you may be unable to stop using it, no matter how terrible the consequences may be. Your brain has changed at such a cellular level that you crave heroin in order to just feel normal. This is when you know that you are addicted.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use?
The biggest risk you have with doing heroin is that you can easily overdose. Whether it is the heroin itself, or perhaps the substance it is mixed with, using heroin is a dangerous game. Many dealers mix their heroin with deadly fentanyl to save money.
Should you manage to survive a regular heroin habit and manage to have a long-term habit, here are some of the long-term effects that you should expect to have:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Possible abscesses
- A heart infection
- Stomach cramping and constipation
- Damaged nose tissues if you snort it
- Kidney or liver disease
- Lung concerns
- Sexual problems for men
- Menstrual cycle changes in women
Get Help Today at Asheville Detox
No matter the generational divide, heroin is a drug that is wreaking havoc on families and communities across the country. Is a heroin addiction something you are struggling with today? Know that you are not alone in your battle with opioids. We at Asheville Detox are not here to judge you. On the contrary, we are here to lift you up. We will lend you the strength when you need it the most. Don’t wait another day to get your life back on track. Contact us today.