Friday, August 23, 2013

Two Local Kids Died in Two Weeks... and You 'd Never Imagine Why

The article calls it Suburbia's Deadly Secret. This happened just 15 miles and four turns off I-87, in a suburban community in Rensselaer County. As the writer describes the landscaped flower beds, local stores and backyards with pools where neighbors socialize, this could be almost any community in Saratoga County. You know these kids too, or a kid who looks just like them. The 23 year old who died in July, staggered into a Stewart’s Shop as locals were having their morning coffee.  Just a couple of years before, he  played sports, was a Boy Scout and an "All American kid.' The mom of 2 other kids says, " “My kids were each the average child. They played baseball, my daughter did bowling, we went on family vacations. I went to all the school meetings like parents do.” Sound familiar?

So what is the one threat you'd never imagine would be creeping into our local suburban communities and threatening our teens and young adults- it’s  HEROIN. On her talk show Katie Couric said that “thirty-four thousand kids between the ages of 12 and 17 will start using heroin this year. Over the last 10 years, teen heroin use has increased 80 percent from coast to coast.” Rensselaer County District Attorney Rich McNally says, “ You’ve got to be aware of the change in the culture, the availability of things kids get high on. It’s everywhere, and you’ve got to know about it.” 

Really?! What’s going on here? Teens are increasingly experimenting with OTC and prescription drugs (heck, the Internet has plenty of articles offering advice on how to get high with what’s in mom and dad’s medicine cabinet.) When that thrill fades, snorting heroin is a cheap next step. And it seems heroin is no longer only in the realm of the inner city, drug culture… it’s moving to the burbs.

What’s the take away for parents?  Even good kids can get mixed up in things beyond their control. Our increasingly mobile society is breaking down barriers quicker than ever seen before. You are the biggest influence in your kid’s life; talk to them about drugs and keep those lines of communications open. This is one fad we don’t want to see gaining momentum. 

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