DANVILLE (KRON) — We are in a growing drug epidemic and no neighborhood is immune.
The Centers for Disease Control reports the number of teens using heroin has doubled in the past decade.
Many of them are kids from the suburbs.
Just like anti-drug public service announcements suggest, heroin is worming its way onto suburban high school campuses and into the student body.
“Good American families that are losing these kids right and left,” Dr. Fred Von Stieff said. “And what’s happening is it’s an epidemic (and) it’s killing people.”
Stephanie is a self-described soccer mom from Danville who discovered her oldest was doing heroin at home.
“It’s in my own home, and I have since learned that not only is it in my home but is rampant in my community,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie doesn’t want us to show her face, nor did she reveal her last name, but she wants to bring this suburban drug problem to light.
“Now I know maybe there was a Vicodin in middle school, maybe a Percocet in their freshman year that evolved into oxycodone, and then from there, it turned into heroin,” she said.
She has since learned that the high schooler’s friends are using heroin and her child has nearly died from doing it.
“Four times. Has been in rehab four times and has overdosed four times,” Stephanie said. “The last time which was quite horrific.”
Her fears are real.
Von Stieff, an East Bay physician, says he is now treating addicted teens in greater numbers.
“I see them every day. I see them buying off the street,” Von Stieff said. “…I don’t know where they get the money–$100 dollars a day. And they can’t stop. They have to be detoxed.”
Stephanie’s child is still struggling.
She shares a mother’s warning to other parents who might miss the tell-tale signs.
“Had I known that the several times that I found a spoon in my child’s room, that that meant something. It wasn’t that they were eating cereal in the middle of the night. Finding shoelaces–they’re used as a tourniquet for intervenous heroin injection,” Stephanie said. “Straws. That can be used for snorting. So, these are the little things that I wished that other parents would have talked about. That we would have been aware because we would have asked those questions before it became too late.”
“This leaves the mothers, the fathers, the families devastated in the guilt and wondering what they could have done,” Von Stieff said. “….It [their sillence] weeps on the ground like fog does but no one really attention to it.”
There are several organizations that are working to curb the heroin and opioid epidemic, especially among teens.
Tom Aswad’s group
Center for Recovery
John Muir Behavioral Health