My traumatic TB test, and why I don’t understand the current rise in teenage heroin use…

October 4, 2009 at 1:15 am (Uncategorized)

For my new job (working as an activity leader in the before and after school care program at Eagle Elementary School..I thought you’d be curious) I had to get a TB test. For those who don’t know what is involved with a TB test, I’ll (painfully) relive the details of yesterday…

First, a way too cheery nurse arrives with a tiny needle filled with a substance (I won’t go medical on you, we’ll stay at “substance”) used to determine whether or not you have TB. She then proceeds to clean your arm with an alcohol swab, for what feels like three hours, making you wish the thing was over with. Then, BOOM, with one swift jab (Alexis hits the floor, mentally) the lady sticks you with this needle right under your skin, and injects the substance so it forms this nauseating bubble in your forearm. If the injection site turns red two days later, congratulations, you’ve got TB!

How does this all correlate to heroin use? Well, heroin is a predominantly injected (into the veins..ew) drug which seems to be taking over Long Island. Flashback to my senior year of high school (2007) and the big drug was cocaine. You could walk into any bathroom in high school at any given point in the day and find the residue on the sink. The whole thing made me so nervous that I probably visited the bathroom twice all senior year.

Now, in 2009, there’s a new drug: heroin. Today’s Newsday covered the story of a Smithtown High School (the school of the town next to me) student who had been doing heroin for two years, and still maintaining her grades and sports team obligations. There’s even a part of the story that references the student shooting up in the bathroom of a Walgreen’s that I had recently shopped in!

I’m appalled. Thinking back on my excruciating experience with my tiny TB test injection, I can’t imagine shooting something in my arm for fun. Why is something so grotesque becoming such a trend?

Smithtown has also had a spike in heroin related arrests and rehab-referrals, according to Newsday, which is pretty shocking considering Smithtown and it’s surrounding towns is stereotyped as a “nice” area. However, Newsday’s descriptions of how “residents told of finding needles in streets, and kids shooting up in their cars before school” is beginning to help Smithtown lose it’s stereotype.

What’s incomprehensible is that I used to get coffee before class in high school, and now kids are grabbing a quick squirt of heroin before homeroom…what is wrong with these kids!?


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