Communities Around the Twin Cities Fight to Curb Heroin Use in Teens

Communities in Minnesota are fighting to bring awareness to a growing problem of heroin abuse among teen and young adults in and around the Twin Cities. Writing in an article for the Star Tribune, reporter Kelley Smith tells the story of Emily Hanus, the 20-year-old daughter of the major of her small town, a suburb alongside Lake Minnetonka.  Emily represents a new normal there, where young white girls from affluent families are caught burglarizing their neighbors in attempts to get money for drugs.

“Recently released numbers show heroin and prescription pill use reached a record high in the Twin Cities in the first half of 2012, accounting for 21 percent of all addiction treatment patients, second only to alcohol….”We’ve never seen this level of heroin abuse and addiction in the Twin Cities or the state,” said Carol Falkowski, a longtime drug prevention expert and former state chemical health director who released the data….the drug trend is particularly alarming because opiates — heroin and prescription painkillers such as OxyContin, codeine and Vicodin — have a higher potential for abuse, addiction and overdose than other drugs. Heroin has emerged as a popular drug as prescription pill abuse increased. Those pills mimic heroin, prompting users who can’t get them or develop a tolerance to turn to the street drug.”

Emily’s relationship to illicit substances began at the young age of 13 with alcohol and quickly progressed to highly addictive prescription medications and later heroin, all easily accessible at her school. At 19 she was arrested, for a second time, after she broke into the home of neighbor looking for valuables. Now, at 20 – after completing a successful stay at a substance abuse treatment center – Emily and her Dad are spreading the word and raising awareness of this deadly trend among her peers in community meetings across the state. Emily is 8 months sober and full of positive energy. She says: “It doesn’t matter what your background is. It can hit you and it can hit you hard. But there’s hope. It’s definitely not a forever thing.”

When you recognize harmful patterns and seek treatment, you can increase your chances of leading a healthier life. Cliffside Malibu is here to support you in your search for an alcohol-free life. We believe you deserve to have a private, comfortable and luxurious environment as you navigate your journey to a sober life. Our center allows you to explore your mental health needs, creates a treatment plan that is unique to you and allows you to discover beneficial coping skills. To learn more about alcohol treatment at Cliffside Malibu, call (855) 403-5641.