Last year, the Seattle Times reported that “fatal overdoses due to Heroin use has increased by 58% in the greater Seattle area. Overall there were 314 drug related deaths last year.”

Kent Youth and Family Services, through our Substance Abuse program, has also seen a rapid increase in Heroin abuse by our youth from Kent and the surrounding communities.

For the past several years, there have been many of our teens and youth who have been experimenting, using, and/or abusing Oxycodone and OxyContin prescription medication; crushing it and then smoking, snorting, and/or sniffing it. However, this past year the manufacturers were required to change the prescriptions’ formula, making it very difficult to obtain the same effects from crushing then smoking or snorting as before. These pills have also become much more expensive, therefore more and more youth are turning to Heroin, which is prevalent and inexpensive.

Currently, Heroin is primarily coming from Mexico in the form of Black Tar Heroin which is regularly available, easy to get, and quite inexpensive. In addition, many of our youth are coming in with poly-drug abuse issues which include snorting or smoking Heroin.

As youth abuse Heroin, it becomes addictive quickly. There is also a strong possibility of overdose. Youth are also using other drugs simultaneously; alcohol, marijuana, and Heroin are the top three drugs abused by our youth and teens currently in treatment.

But there are things parents can do! First get to know the warning signs.

Some of the prominent signs of Heroin abuse:

  • Runny nose or constant sniffling
  • Speech is slurred
  • Very little motivation or desire to do things
  • Lack of focus on future plans
  • Displays hostility toward others
  • Desire to be left alone; decreasing family or social activities
  • Becoming reckless
  • Restricted pupils
  • Stealing

If you or anyone you know is using Heroin or any opiate, please call Kent Youth and Family Service at 253-859-0300 or email for a thorough evaluation and recommendations.


-Kent Youth and Family Services