Teens overdosing on cheap heroin - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

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Teens overdosing on cheap heroin

Sixteen-year-old Haley Paternoster died of a heroin overdose after drug dealers staked out her upper-middle-class neighborhood in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Haley's classmates, overcome with grief, produced a music video to try to save other kids from dying. According to the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency, today's heroin is more potent than ever --and it's bargain-priced to compete with new designer drugs like "x" and spice.

"This heroin is so strong and it's so popular, and it's cheaper than a six pack of beer," says Mary, a parent on a mission to warn other parents about heroin dealers preying upon kids.

Her own daughter Amber was getting good grades and had a bright future. Amber says she never saw herself becoming a heroin addict.

"It's an obsession. You become obsessed with getting high," she explains.

But when she tried to quit, she suffered the effects of withdrawal.

"When I stopped doing it, I'd get really sick. I would get the chills. You can't sleep," Amber recalls. "You're sweating and cold at the same time."

Could a teen you know be addicted to heroin?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting and cold flashes with goose bumps.

Dr. Angela Aiello says any parent with a child addicted to heroin needs to seek medical attention for them immediately.

"If they are dependent on heroin, some sort of in-patient detoxification program is necessary and then a recovery program that teaches them the tools to stay clean is absolutely imperative if you
want your teen to stay away from drugs," says Dr. Aiello.

Even with the best treatment, heroin addiction is hard to beat. For Amber, it's an ongoing struggle.

"It's like a tornado. It wiped out every aspect of my life," says Amber.

But fortunately, Amber still has her life, unlike Haley Paternoster and so many other teens who have overdosed on heroin. And as Haley's friends and family want you to know -- heroin addiction can happen to anyone.

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