NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Conner Davidson grew up in a middle class family in Nashville. He went to a small private school and appeared to have things together.
Davidson, however, said he was living a double life, battling a serious drug addiction.
He started using heroin at a young age when someone offered him the illegal drug.
“He asked me if I wanted to get high and I said yes, and I fell in love. I was doing it every day after that,” recalled Davidson.
He eventually went to a treatment center and has now been clean for two years.
While maintaining his sobriety, Davidson now helps other young people at Cumberland Heights Treatment Center on their journey to recovery.
“I can only share my experience with them and hopefully they can learn from that,” he said.
Heroin use among teenagers continues to be a big problem in Tennessee.
According to a report from the Center for Disease Control, teenagers are using heroin and shooting up drugs at a much higher rate than the national average in Tennessee.
A youth risk behavior report revealed 4.7 percent of high school students in the state said they have injected heroin or other illegal drugs, while 4.9 percent answered “yes” to using methamphetamines.
The national average was 1.7 percent.
“The kids we see here are just like the kids you would know. They are school students. They are in Williamson, Davidson and Cheatham County. They are upper-middle class; sometimes they are successful still in their academics,” said Paul Citro, Youth Services Director with Cumberland Heights.
He explained that heroin is very easy for teenagers to their hands on.
Dealers sell heroin to teenagers in $5 and $10 bags.
“Go ahead and be a nosey parent. Go ahead and ask those questions that your gut is telling you to ask. If you are hearing inconsistencies in your child’s story about why they are late, why they dented their car, why they are stealing money, why they are looking so tired all the time, follow up with targeted questions,” said Citro
Treatment counselors said it is a conversation parents should have with their teenagers.
Davidson agrees from a firsthand experience.