Urban Outfitters Pinpoints Hairroin Salons With Free Hypodermic Pens

By John Lavitt 07/18/14

Urban Outfitters has teamed up with the NYC Hairroin Salon in glamorizing drug use at a time when heroin has devastated the city.

Photo via

Pinpointing Hairroin Salons in their stores that give away free hypodermic needle pens, it’s clear that Urban Outfitters has failed to learn their lesson.

After previously pulling shot glasses designed as prescription medication bottles from its shelves after an uproar, the teen-focused store has actually teamed up with a hair salon with the name Hairroin in its latest New York City location. The so-called cutting edge salon glamorizes drug addiction with their slogan, "addicted to style," and distribution of hypodermic needle pens as promotion.

Can you imagine laughing at such a play on words in light of the countless families suffering from heroin abuse and overdose deaths? To go along with this cruel joke by Urban Outfitters that mocks the tragedy of heroin addiction, shoppers can pick up their hypodermic pens as casually as a teenager picks up a new drug habit. Along with other items emblazoned, “I Love Hairroin” that celebrate the ugly reality, the store seems to actively disregard the horror of local statistics in New York.

Plagued by an actual heroin epidemic, the number of drug-related deaths in New York more than doubled from 940 in 2004 to 2,044 in 2012. This is according to the latest available drug statistics from the New York Health Department. The latest report that recommends Naloxone access for state paramedics explained how “[h]eroin-related overdose deaths increased 84% between 2010 and 2012 in New York City, after four years on the decline.”

With devastating effects on the youth of the state, the heroin epidemic is generating tragedy in homes and in families across the state. Speaking at Rockland Community College on June 11, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “This state has a serious problem with heroin, and it has been growing, and it is getting worse, and it is of epidemic proportions at this point,” according to the Democrat Chronicle.

In the shadow of such a grim reality, Urban Outfitters' partnership with Hairroin, with its tone-deaf slogan and freebie syringe pens, is clearly crossing an obvious line. Even if the salon Hairroin has its own business, with standalone locations in New York City and Los Angeles, does Urban Outfitters really need to glamorize such a callous disregard for today’s gruesome reality? How many young people will get caught up in the casual fun of the promotion, leading to more unnecessary victims of the heroin epidemic that is raging across the entire country?

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.