The smell of smoke at 4 a.m. abruptly woke Kristin and sent her rushing down to the kitchen.
She found mini tacos burning to a crisp in the oven — and her 20-year-old daughter sitting on the floor, head hung forward, arms limp.
“The first thing out of my mouth was, ‘What is wrong with you, is your blood sugar low?’” Kristin recalled frantically asking the former Olathe high school cheerleader and gymnast.
It wasn’t the sugar in her blood that was wrong. It was the heroin. The girl was nodding in its warm embrace.
The story is one of several catching the attention of authorities and area drug abuse counselors this year.
The problem has shown up in New York, Illinois, Alabama, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Utah and Washington state. Heroin use is on the rise among suburban youth, experts say, and although the numbers are still small, spikes in overdoses and even deaths show an alarming trend.
In Blue Springs, police dealt with five cases of heroin and youth in October after half a decade of seeing none.
In many cases, the way was paved by other opiates, the Oxycontin or Vicodin painkillers, often swiped from a medicine cabinet. But parents have become more alert to possible misuse.
While painkillers can run to $40 to $60 a pill, a bag of heroin, which produces a more intense high, is $5 to $10.
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