Thanks to the evening news, TV shows and the Hollywood movie industry, the majority of Americans have a certain image of what a heroin user looks like. But rather than the strung out, skinny addict hanging on a street corner, the heroin user of the 21st century looks a great deal like you and me.
Heroin Users of the Past
In the 1950s and 1960s, heroin use was confined, for the most part, to a certain number of niche demographic groups. Artists and musicians were among the heaviest users of the day, and “beatniks” also favored the drug for its euphoric effects. As the 1970s and 1980s approached, and the cost of heroin dropped, the fringes of the drug world became enamored with the drug – and many men and women became junkies – strung out on the powerful, addictive effects of the drug. Sharing needles with other users during the 1990s and beyond had helped fuel the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other serious diseases.
Heroin Addiction in the 21st Century
A recent New York Times article reported on a toxic shipment of heroin that made its way to Manhattan. Over the course of a single weekend, 12 individuals died as a result of overdose from using this potent version of the drug. What was interesting about the article was that it looked into the lives of those who died – finding a truly eclectic cross-section of heroin users across the city. Some of the heroin users who died were men and women of all ages and socio-economic groups. The event proved that the make-up of heroin users had changed significantly since the “junkie” era of the late 20th century.
Getting Help for Someone Using Heroin
Chances are, an individual who is addicted to heroin is going to be unable to stop on their own. Instead, it falls upon family and friends to reach out and get that individual to first see that they have a serious drug problem – and then get them the professional help they need, most especially when their addicted loved one is a teenager. The first step is talking to the individual about their heroin addiction. If a loving, honest conversation with the addicted loved one does not help, the next step is to hold an intervention. A heroin drug addiction intervention is a meeting during which friends and family members gather together to help someone understand the depth of their problem – and then go directly from the event to a heroin rehab center that has been chosen beforehand.