Straight Talk: Heroin a deadly addiction

By: Lauren Forcella
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Dear Straight Talk: I’ve been hiding my boyfriend in my basement bedroom because his parents kicked him out. What nobody knows is that he is addicted to heroin. We both began smoking it in our cigarettes, or sometimes snorting it, and now he has starting shooting it. Please help. I don’t want to do it anymore. He says he wants to stop, but all he does is get more. Maybe he sounds awful to be a heroin addict but he is a beautiful person and I love him. I don’t want him to go to jail or be homeless if I tell my parents about him. How can I get him to quit? ~ Desperate in Salinas, CA Brie, 18, Ashland, OR: A wonderful friend of mine got hooked on meth. His father kicked him out, too. He dropped out of school and was couch surfing and living on the streets. He kept saying he’d quit, that he’d go to rehab, but then he would just get high again. A group of us contacted his father about how worried we were. I don’t think he ever would have gone to rehab if we hadn’t informed his parents how bad it was. They sent him to a rehab facility for over a year. He’s clean and sober now but will forever have to be careful. Michael, 17, Fair Oaks: My cousin became addicted to heroin after knee surgery when he was prescribed OxyContin. It took two years before anybody realized how bad it was. At that point, our family gathered for a rehab intervention and I was part of it. We walked into complete chaos. His floor was covered with syringes, strainers, dumped over pill bottles, cigarette butts, little chunks of black heroin tar, everything just littered. He was so far gone he could do nothing but feed the habit and not get sick. Every two hours he was having withdrawals. Seeing him was one of the scariest things I’ve ever witnessed. Here was a guy I had looked up to my whole life. Now his skin was white and hanging, his cheeks puffy and distorted, his eyes rimmed with dark purple. He looked like the guy from “Beetlejuice.” When we took him outside, the sun made him sick. Just driving to the airport, he had to shoot up. The interventionist was a recovered addict himself, and he said that once you start shooting you need rehab for at least a year just to manage — and even after 30 years clean, you can slip-up in a second. It’s so addictive it takes over. You’re no longer you, you become the drug. Nobody in their right mind would ever do this to themselves, that’s why it’s so important to NEVER use these drugs. It’s a one-way ticket to being dead or losing all your freedom to feeding the addiction. You need to tough up and blow the whistle on both of you. He won’t do it. He’s already too far gone. It’s up to you. Dear Desperate: It IS up to you. And blowing the whistle means getting yourselves to a HOSPITAL, so please stop worrying about jail. If you’re afraid to tell your parents the truth, drive to the hospital and tell the doctors the truth. They know exactly how to help you and how to involve your parents constructively. If your boyfriend won’t go, go on your own and help him from there. He really is too far gone. You say you love him. Now prove it. Readers: if you know someone using heroin, meth, crack, or cocaine, be a true friend and tell someone who can help them. As you heard from Brie and Michael, families aren’t always aware. Required reading for all teens and parents: “Tweak” by Nic Scheff and “Beautiful Boy” by David Scheff. To ask a question or inquire about being a youth panelist, visit or write P.O. Box 963 Fair Oaks, CA 95628.