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Drug Abuse
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North America
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USA, Texas, drugs, heroin, high school, teenagers
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In Spring, Texas, the drugs of choice among students have changed from beer and marijuana to crack, cocaine, and heroin. Heavy drugs that were thought to be only a inner city problem are now affecting the high school youth of middle class America.
Brian Finke

1998 — student award of excellence

Almost four years after my graduation from Klein Oak High School, In Spring, Texas; the drugs of choice among students have changed from beer and marijuana to crack, cocaine, and heroin. Heavy drugs that were thought to be only a inner city problem are now affecting the high school youth of middle class America.

My interest in heroin abuse began in South Bronx where I have been photographing Nancy, an intravenous drug user. In the photographs, I depict the relationship with her children and ex-husband. Heroin in the south Bronx is just as destructive as ever and not the problem is spreading to suburban and rural areas.

After returning to Texas for winter break and speaking with friends who have younger siblings just beginning high school, I became aware of the growing use of heroin with kids no older than the age of sixteen. Growing up in a predominately white suburban neighborhood, partying used to consist of drinking beer and smoking marijuana on the weekends. This casual experimenting has changed and escalated to the abuse of heavy drugs, and American high schools are starting to feel the effects.

I was speaking with a friend’s younger brother, currently a freshman at Klein Oak High School, and he was saying that cocaine and heroin use is common at parties. Later, he went on to say that students feel that they have to out-do the classes ahead of them in everything including how hard they party. With this mentality, the rise of drugs such as crack, cocaine and heroin is a problem that is only going to worsen.

During the 1998/1998 school year, my sister will be in her senior year of high school at Klein Oak. After my graduation from the School of Visual Arts in May 1998, I will return to Spring, Texas for periods of time during my sister’s senior year to photograph the rise of heroin use among high school students. I began photographing in the South Bronx where heroin has long affected its society. Now I will be returning home where the problems of heavy drug use will be affecting the neighborhood where I grew up.

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Nadean, senior. October 1998. Brian Finke/Alexia Foundation
Cheerleading camp, girls consoling each other. August 1998. Brian Finke/Alexia Foundation
Scott, senior in high school, duck hunting on lease outside of Houston, Texas. October 1998. Brian Finke/Alexia Foundation
Homecoming dance. September 1998. Brian Finke/Alexia Foundation
Homecoming dance. September 1998. Brian Finke/Alexia Foundation
Parents video tape from Homecoming. October 1998. Brian Finke/Alexia Foundation
Cheerleading at football game. September 1998. Brian Finke/Alexia Foundation
Nadean, cheerleader. October 1998. Brian Finke/Alexia Foundation
Cheerleaders fighting. August 1998. Brian Finke/Alexia Foundation
Suburban house in Spring, Texas. Brian Finke/Alexia Foundation