Smells Like Teen Hype

Writing in the Aug. 1 OC Weekly, Mike Males dispels the notion, foisted upon Southern Californians by the pliant pressmen at the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register and local anti-drug warriors, that masses of Californian teens are falling for heroin.

It’s just not true, Males reports, and the numbers back him up. Between 1991 and 1995, only one of the 181 heroin-related fatalities recorded by the Orange County coroner involved a teen-ager, and only five of the felled were between the ages of 20 and 24. The rest were 25 or older. Also, a newly released 10-year study of 150,000 California heroin-related hospital admissions shows that the average age of a user in the state is 40, up seven years from a decade ago.

“In short, today’s heroin habitu,s are the parents, not the kids,” Males writes. He continues:

“[T]he rule rigidly followed by the media is that drug abuse may only be discussed as a teenage problem. If, by some convenient measure, drug abuse goes up, they blame inherently stupid teens seduced by Trainspotting and [Kurt] Cobain, and the media rush to illustrate the evils of kids corrupted by ‘pop culture.’ If, by some other convenient measure, drug abuse goes down, officials break both legs grabbing credit as the press showers them with praise.”