Heroin use: A growing problem for teens - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Heroin use: A growing problem for teens

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) -

You might not realize this, but heroin is actually a pretty big problem in many schools here in the valley.

Local drug prevention groups say more and more teens are trying heroin.  Since 2002, the number of teens trying the drug is up 80 percent.

"This can happen to you. I was the good kid. I was the athlete.  I was the scholar and it happened to me."

37-year-old Shane was one of the lucky ones -- he beat his heroin addiction and now shares his story with high school students.

"There's some very affluent schools, school districts and neighborhoods where this is a major problem," he said.

Shane is the communications manager for notMYkid, a Scottsdale non-profit that aims to prevent drug use. He says the average teen heroin user is from a middle class home.

"We are hearing heroin mentioned constantly.  It is something that's showing on their radar and a lot of parents are surprised when they find out their child is doing it," he said.

Teens are usually addicted to pain killers first and they then move on to heroin.

"When a kid can't afford to pay a dealer $80 to $100 for an Oxycontin tablet, they turn to heroin because it's cheaper, it's more readily available and more powerful," said Shane.

notMYkid gives parents free drug tests.  Shane says random drug tests are a great way to prevent your teen from using drugs.

"I've noticed when we have these high profile incidents with Cory Montieth or Philip Seymour Hoffman, we as a society start having this conversation again and that's awesome, that's great -- we need to have these conversations.  In between these incidents, we need to have this conversation before these incidents happen," said Shane.

According to the State Department of Health, 100 people died of a heroin overdose in Arizona last year.  In 2012, 93 people died.

Online: notmykid.org

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