heroin addiction

How do I know my loved one is using heroin?

Heroin addiction gives the user a euphoric feeling. Oftentimes, addicts will begin taking painkillers, such as Oxycotin, Percocet or Vicodan. Many times these prescriptions are obtained for a legitimate injury or illness. However, due to the highly addictive nature of these drugs, the user can develop a dependence. Obtaining these prescription drugs can prove difficult and expensive. When that happens, the addict will often turn to heroin.

What are the signs my loved one has a heroin addiction?

  • Begins to isolate himself or herself from family and friends
  • Change in social group
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Engages in illegal activity, such as stealing, to obtain drugs
  • Cycles of hyper-alertness followed by periods of “nodding off”
  • Physical withdrawal symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, muscle and joint pain,vomiting, insomnia
  • Change or decline in hygiene
  • Appears to be confused
  • Track marks on arms or legs (from injecting)
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Small pupils
  • Cuts, bruises, scabs and/or abscesses
  • Wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts in warmer weather (to hide track marks)

What are some physical signs my loved one is using heroin? (Paraphernalia)

  • Needles or syringes
  • Straws with burn marks
  • Burned spoons
  • Aluminum foil or gum wrappers with burn marks
  • Small plastic bags with powdery residue
  • Rubber straps or shoelaces
  • Bottle caps
  • Small cotton balls or Q-tips®

If you are seeing these signs, it is time to call for help.

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