A drug once associated primarily with crime, poverty, and homeless now has a surprising new set of victims -- suburban teenagers. More and more instances of heroin use among U.S. high school students are being reported.
New Mexico has been particularly hard-hit.According to local news station KRQE, heroin has overtaken other hard drugs like cocaine and crystal meth as the fastest-growing teen drug trend, and an estimated $300,000 worth of heroin is sold in Albuquerque every day.
Concerned parents and teens whose lives have been affected by the drug are now speaking out. After Steve Paternoster's daughter Haley died of a heroin overdose in 2010, he became an advocate for heroin use prevention.
"It affects us all," Paternoster told KRQE. "There is a kid dying every day here in Albuquerque. There's 300 new addicts every month here in Albuquerque."
To honor Haley's memory and support heroin use prevention efforts, a group of students have created a music video titled "Haley We Miss You." The students are planning to create an entire album of songs in support of drug abuse education.
Other communities across America are also being affected by teenage heroin use. This week, two teens and a 22-year-old were arrested at a mall in Cambridge, Massachusetts for heroin possession. And recently in Naperville, Illinois, Paul Miller found his 18-year-old daughter in her room after she had overdosed on heroin and ecstasy. The year before her overdose, six deaths attributed to heroin use had occurred in Naperville, according to the Chicago Tribune. Now, Paul and his wife Amy are speaking about about the dangers of heroin addiction in the hopes of preventing other tragic incidences from occurring.