About Heroin

Heroin is a highly addictive form of opioid morphine derived from certain poppy plants.  Heroin use has increased exponentially in the last fifteen years within Ohio and the nation. The largest factor related to heroin use has been the misuse and addition of opioid prescription medication. 

This shift from prescription drugs to heroin is due to a number of factors, primarily the increasing availability of heroin, coupled with the shutdown “pill mills”, increased prescribing guidelines and reporting systems for tracking prescription opioids. With increasing availability, heroin has become a cheaper alternative for prescription opioid abusers.

Heroin can be snorted, smoked or injected. The short-term effects of use include rapid euphoria, clouded mental functioning, slowed breathing, suppression of pain, nausea and vomiting. Long-term users face the risk of abscesses, bacterial infections, collapsed veins, and an increased risk of infectious diseases.

Once the initial effects of the drug kick in, users typically end up feeling drowsy for several hours. Their mental functioning remains clouded due to heroin’s effect on the central nervous system and their cardiac function slows down. Breathing becomes severely slow and depressed, sometimes to the point of death.

 Heroin Use Infographic

"I think my child is using"

It's a scary moment, realizing that something seems off about your teen. Alarm bells ring and your first thoughts might be panicked. 

Stop. Breathe. There are resources and people who are here to help. 

So what do you do?  Ask your teen about your suspicions. Gather your thoughts, and sit down to speak with your child calmly and directly. Before you talk, take some time to education yourself about the risk factors for use, why teens use, and find out what you don't know about drugs. 

The Partnership for Drug Free Kids has assembled this step-by-step guide to walk you through the steps you should take when you believe your child might be using drugs. 

"I KNOW my child is using"

Most parents don't know where to start when they find out their child is using drugs. 

It's a scary time, but you're not alone. There are resources and people available to help you. 

Visit the Partnership for Drug Free Kids to find this step by step guide for assessing the situation and talking with your teen when you are sure they are using. 


Get help 24/7 by calling the local hotline at 800-731-5577


More Resources to Help You Start Talking


The Know! drug prevention and awareness program from Drug Free Action Alliance targets parents and caregivers of middle school students and empowers them to raise their children substance-free with a twice monthly electronic newsletter about current drug trends and other hot topics.

It's scary to thnk about your teen using drugs

To learn of your child using heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, or another illegal drug would undoubtedly be terrifying. However, teens consistently report that the most commonly abused substances are 

  1. Alcohol
  2. Tobacco
  3. Marijuana
  4. Prescription Drugs

Results from the 2014 Union County Youth Risk Behavior Survey (below) indicate that only a very small percentage of students had used illegal drugs in the past 12 months, and even fewer had used them more than 3 times during that period.

It's important to talk with you teen about not using drugs, but it's more important to talk with them about making positive choices, whether it be with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, prescription drugs, or any other risky behavior they may be more prone to as teens. Slide10