Science Behind Drugs: Heroin Awareness and Prevention

The alarming rise in heroin use among teenagers is especially prevalent in the Chicago area suburbs. This public health crisis affects everyone, and requires a whole community response. Thank you for your interest in keeping our kids healthy, and your part in heroin prevention.

What can I do?

Talk early – talk often!
Study after study indicates that parents remain the primary influencer of their kids. Parents have more influence over their child than friends, music, TV, the internet or celebrities.

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Be Aware of Risk Factors for Drug Abuse
There are numerous factors that increase the risk that a child may use drugs, such as family history, depression or residence in neighborhoods where substance abuse is common.

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Integrate Protective Factors for Drug Abuse into Your Family
Protective factors appear to balance and buffer the negative impact of existing risk factors.

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Recognize that Prescription Pain Medications Can Lead to Heroin Use
Prescription pain medications are necessary and effective when used as directed by a physician.

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Program Research and Evaluation
Find out about the research we did into the suburban heroin problem and see our evaluation reports from two years of pilot-testing the heroin program.

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Lessons shared by the heroin prevention Family Advisory Group, each of whom has suffered the gravity of loss that follows heroin addiction. It is their hope to give the gift of hindsight to other families.

I wish I had known that loving, caring families are not immune from heroin addiction. I wish I had known that just because my child was getting good grades didn’t mean he/she was not using heroin. I wish I had known that the pain medication prescribed for my son after the removal of his wisdom teeth would be a gateway drug to his heroin addiction. I wish I had known that reputable professionals can be unaware or even negligent in pain med prescriptions. I wish I had known that a traditional college dorm is one of the worst environments for someone prone to addiction. I wish I had known to get help immediately; if the addict doesn’t want help, then you should get help. I wish I had known that siblings and peers collude to not tell. I wish I had known that my son’s self-centered, destructive, abusive behavior was the voice of heroin addiction. I wish I had known that addiction is genetically based – it runs in families. I wish I had known that drug use can be a form of self-medication for depression, anxiety or elevated mood. I wish I had known to trust my gut instinct. I wish I had known to push for rehab instead of listening to him say that he’ll go when he’s ready. I wish I had known that heroin addiction happens to normal families.

Learn more about prevention education

Heroin Prevention Education Brochure

The Robert Crown Center Heroin Prevention Program focuses on primary prevention, providing middle school and high school students, their parents and school staff with the scientific and social/emotional learning content to understand the risk of drug use, specifically targeting prescription pain medication and heroin. Click the image above to find out more.