An inquest into the death of 19-year-old Denise Shepherd found that the cause was heroin overdose coupled with a cocktail of pills. At the inquest, Ms Shepherd’s mother Joann Bell told of how her daughter was just 11 years of age when she began smoking cannabis. However, by the age of 19 she had moved on to harder drugs, while her mother also told of how Denise and boyfriend both drank heavily.
After Ms Shepherd’s death, her mother told of how her daughter had fallen in with a bad crowd when she was young and how she had tried to get her away from them by moving home but that it did not work.
Does Cannabis Use Lead to Hard Drugs?
Ms Shepherd began using cannabis at a young age and moved on to harder drugs at a later stage. However, is this always the case? For a long time it was thought that cannabis was not addictive but that theory has been disproved; approximately 10 per cent of those using cannabis developing a dependence to the drug.
One of the problems with cannabis is that long-term users tend to become intolerant to it and will take more and more in order to get the same feelings or high. Studies have shown only a small number of cannabis users will move on to harder drugs although, of those who do use class A drugs such as cocaine and heroin, most have used cannabis in the past. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that those who are buying drugs such as cannabis will be more likely to encounter those selling other illegal drugs, which can be where the problem begins.
Hiding a Secret
One of the biggest problems with drug use in teenagers is the fact that they will hide this from their parents at all costs – it remains like this until it becomes glaringly obvious. At this point, the individual is often addicted to on harder drugs, making it difficult for the parents to do anything about it. Whether it is cannabis or harder drugs, a teenager is never going to admit using to their parents.
Unfortunately for Ms Bell, her daughter had moved from cannabis to harder drugs, eventually leading to her death.
How to tell if a Teenager is Using Drugs
If you suspect your child is using drugs, getting help as soon as possible is vital. Drugs such as cocaine and heroin are highly addictive and, the longer the addiction is left untreated, the worse it will become. There are a number of tell-tale signs to look out for in a teenager who is using drugs, including:
- regular nosebleeds that could be attributed to snorting certain drugs
- change in sleeping patterns
- change in weight (sudden gain or loss)
- lack of interest in physical appearance
- drop in standard of schoolwork
- getting into trouble in school
- unexplained money going missing from the house
- change in behaviour – becoming moody and secretive
- change in group of friends
- demanding to be left alone and wanting their room kept private
- being lethargic or hyperactive.
If you suspect your teenage child may be taking drugs, getting some help sooner rather than later is imperative. Drugs such as cocaine and heroin are highly addictive and kicking the habit is something that will require support and probably some outside intervention. Rehab Helper can offer advice on the best course of action as well as helping to find the most appropriate addiction treatment options available. Call us today on 0800 044 8331.