In Huntington Beach, California, we have a serious drug problem in our high schools – alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, cocaine, heroin, and more. Heroin, you ask? Yes.
Heroin is one of the top drug problems in the Huntington Beach Union High School District, and it is more addictive and deadly than ever before. Every year, high school heroin use and deaths are going up.
Heroin is cheaper and stronger than ever before. In the 1970s, heroin was about 3 percent pure. Today, it is 60 percent pure or higher. The more potent the heroin, the more addictive it is. Our high school students do not realize how addictive it is until it is too late.
Heroin addiction has become much more of a problem in the Huntington Beach High School District the past few years because of the connection with illegal prescription drugs.
High school students often start with prescription drugs, such as Oxycodone (the actual drug contained in OxyContin brand pills), which they can easily purchase in the high schools for $20 to $60. They become addicted to the prescription drugs and then begin looking for cheaper alternatives to maintain the high.
Our high school students then find out, through friends or dealers pushing heroin, that heroin offers a similar type of high that is more intense and cheaper. They buy a bag of heroin for $3 to $10 and typically start off snorting the drug. Within a month, they are injecting the drug.
The transition to heroin has also accelerated in the last two years due to an unintended consequence to a reformulation of OxyContin. The makers of OxyContin changed the formula in 2010 to make it harder to crush or dissolve the tablet. The goal was to discourage kids from snorting or injecting the drug. Some kids found ways around the reformulation, but many simply moved to heroin as the easier drug to use and still get the same sort of high.
What is the likelihood that your child may be abusing prescription drugs? The current California Student Survey (CSS) sponsored by the California Attorney General’s Office found that 37% of 9th grade students and 50% of 11th grade students reported using illicit / illegal drugs or diverted prescription drugs at least once in their lifetime. The prescription drugs used most frequently are prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin or Vicodin. Yes, your child is at risk.
As a parent, we need to understand what to look for. Do not presume that your child is immune. Heroin is easy to get in the Huntington Beach High School District and you must be watchful.
Go through your child’s room and trash. Heroin is often smoked or snorted, in which case you are looking for tinfoil, empty pen capsules, and rolled up dollar bills. Heroin can also be injected, so you are also looking for needles.
The heroin itself is typically in a black tar form that looks similar to asphalt or a dried-up raisin. Heroin is often wrapped in a balloon or a plastic wrapper.
There are resources for parents to educate themselves further. One highly recommended resource is the film "Behind the Orange Curtain" which details the real story behind what is happening in Orange County, California, with our children and prescription drug abuse and heroin (see behindtheorangecurtain.net).
The Huntington Beach High School District is failing our children.
The High School District has failed in public outreach. Few parents are aware of the extent of the drug problem in our high schools and the degree to which our children are at risk. If the District administration and Governing Board were worried less about their image and more about the students, parents would be more aware and able to take greater steps to protect their children.
The High School District has failed in drug enforcement. As one high school student put it,“The drug problem is right in front of the staff’s noses, it’s not only marijuana now, there is cocaine, heroin, shrooms,“E” aka ecstasy and lots of prescription drugs available on campus… trust me, it’s everywhere…”
Why is it everywhere? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that instead of increasing drug enforcement, the Huntington Beach Union High School District Governing Board decided, in 2009, to cut all 7 campus public safety officers. That’s right, all of them. What little enforcement we had was gone, so that the District could save a total of about 8 cents per child per day.
We need to elect a new Governing Board – vote each of the incumbents out of office. A safe learning environment must be a top priority within the Huntington Beach Union High School District. That includes strong programs to prevent drug use, bullying and violence. Parents deserve to feel secure entrusting a school with the well-being of their child.
About Behind the Orange Curtain
The film Behind the Orange Curtain talks about the tragedies occurring every day in Orange County, California, as our children become addicted to prescription drugs such as OxyContin which lead to heroin addiction.
About Edward Pinchiff
Edward Pinchiff (edwardpinchiff.com) is a candidate for the Huntington Beach Union High School District Governing Board serving high schools in the Cities of Huntington Beach, Westminster and Fountain Valley. He is running on a platform of Educational Excellence, a Safe Learning Environment, Sound Fiscal Management, and Government Transparency.