It may seem far-fetched that someone you know may be using heroin, especially if that somebody is your own son or daughter. But the fact of the matter is that heroin is more popular today than it ever has been, and it seems as though the trend is only increasing. The average heroin user is a young, white suburbanite who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money to get their fix… and heroin fits this criteria.
The thought may have crossed your mind that your child is using heroin, but the problem is that people who use drugs are rarely forthright about their habits and which substances they are abusing. You’ll have to dig deeper and become more observant to identify the behaviors and symptoms associated with heroin use.
Signs of Heroin Use
Here are some common signs to look for.
1. Sudden Weight Loss
Heroin addicts often lose an alarming amount of weight until they develop an unhealthy, skeletal-like physique. The drug is known to cause severe nausea in the user, which in turn may lead to a lack of appetite.
2. Wearing Clothing That Conceals Skin
One of the most common ways to use heroin is by injecting the drug into your veins with a needle. This leaves behind visible irritation where the needle was poked into the skin and often times will leave veins looking dark and discolored. That being the case, addicts will often times wear long sleeved shirts and pants all year long in an effort to conceal their track marks.
3. Suspicious Increases In Sleep Patterns
Heroin is an opioid, derived from the poppy flower. Opioids are known for their numbing effects, which causes heroin highs to make users lethargic and fall into prolonged periods of rest.
4. Drug Paraphernalia
Heroin addicts use hypodermic needles to inject drugs into their bodies. Keep an eye out for unexplainable syringes, scales, coffee grinders, small plastic bags, etc. While these things probably won’t be left in plain view, needles may be in waste baskets, or empty soda cans (shake them to hear if there is anything inside).
5. Trouble With Money
The heroin habit is a costly one, and it is all to common for a user to sell off possessions very inexpensively, ask friends and family to lend them money, or begin stealing to sustain their addiction.
6. New Friends
Heroin users will begin spending more time with other addicts once the substance becomes a staple in their lifestyle. Lifelong friends will be left in the dust, no matter how meaningful their bond. Heroin is a substance that will completely consume its user.
7. Dry Mouth
Heroin addicts suffer from dry mouth, or cottonmouth – a common side effect of any opioid.
8. Changes In Behavior and Lying
Heroin changes a person’s behavior and personality for two main reasons. Constant mood shifts from getting high and coming down alter the brain’s chemistry, and their illegal/shunned activity is a something that the user would like to keep a secret. Lying becomes a necessity.
9. Chronic Cold and Illness
It’s common for heroin users to have a constant runny nose. This is product of a lowered immune system which leaves the body unable to fight off infections and sickness.
10. Mood Swings
Drug users may become manic, bouncing between states of elation and crippling depression. A heroin high involves a sudden rush that leaves its user feeling euphoric. However, coming down is extremely uncomfortable and notoriously painful. Enough to leave anyone feeling moody.
Heroin is an incredibly dangerous substance, and the signs listed above are only some of what is to come. Many addicts genuinely want to get better, but the thought of withdrawal and the pain the accompanies it is a deterrent. Professional help should be sought out immediately if you suspect a love one is struggling through addiction of a substance. Habits cannot be kicked without help.