The use, abuse, and addiction associated with deadly street drugs such as heroin can be very difficult to address with someone who is using the drug. However, the results of ignoring heroin use and ultimately, addiction, are much more difficult than a simple discussion.
To begin understanding the symptoms of heroin use, abuse, addiction, it is important to understand heroin and how it affects the human body.
Heroin is made from the opium poppy and is a narcotic, which means that heroin is a pain killer, and thus highly popular as a recreational drug. In its purest form, heroin is a fine white powder. Heroin can be used in three different ways: the powder can be smoked, it can be snorted, or the powder can be melted and injected directly into the bloodstream.
People using heroin experience extreme feelings of carefree euphoria.
But, how can you tell if someone is using Heroin? There are six definite warning signs of heroin use.
Signs of heroin can be visible in three different ways. There are social/societal signs of heroin use, there are physical signs of heroin use, and there are psychological signs of heroin use. Each area has two very distinct warning signs which, when considered with other signs, can indicate heroin use, abuse, or addiction.
1. Social indicators of heroin use include a change in social acquaintances. A person using heroin normally accepts new friends into their peer group and alienates friends who have been long term associates.
2. Another critical indicator that may point to heroin usage is a sudden, unexpected loss of employment.
3. Since heroin use is normally progressive, people who use heroin initially inhale (snort) the powder. However, users frequently progress to injecting heroin because doing so induces the euphoria more quickly and extends the length of time euphoria is experienced. Therefore, any unexplained evidence of needle sticks should be considered a critical warning sign. Advanced users often exhibit needle scarring, called “tracks”, which is highly indicative of abuse and addiction.
4. Heroin users also tend to experience a loss of appetite and a subsequent loss of weight. It is important to be aware of any unexplained weight loss in an adult, especially if they are not actively trying to lose weight.
5. Psychological signs of heroin use can be more difficult to assess, but are almost always present. Sudden, unexplained, or violent mood swings frequently accompany heroin use, abuse, and addiction.
6. Another psychological indicator of heroin use can be instances of withdrawal or paranoia for no apparent reason. While some people are naturally “loners”, be aware when a normally gregarious individual suddenly wants to be isolated and left alone.
While these indicators can be present for a number of different reasons, with the exception of obvious needle scars, these indicators can be used as good cause to further investigate the lifestyle and habits of someone you may already suspect is using heroin. Recreational drug use is not a topic the average user feels free to discuss with family members and business associates.
If your suspicions turn out to be correct, the most important step is to obtain treatment for the heroin user. In larger cities, treatment options are varied and easily available. In other areas finding treatment can be problematic. Finding a good Utah drug rehab inpatient program, for instance, may require a referral from a qualified doctor or inpatient acute care hospital.
One of the major roadblocks in dealing with someone you know that may be using heroin is that getting that person to admit using heroin is a lot easier than getting that person to admit that they need treatment. Heroin users very seldom call out for help independently.