Heroin is a deadly opiate drug that is synthesized from the poppy plant. An illegal street drug, it is classified as a Schedule I substance in the United States, which means that it is highly addictive and not approved for medical use.
Few who use the drug do so only occasionally or recreationally. It is so addictive that, in most cases, a few uses quickly lead to an abuse problem that soon turns into an addiction. Patients who struggle with heroin addiction will almost always require professional treatment. Contact us at Michael’s House today to find out more about how our heroin rehab program can help your or your loved one.
Some ways to tell if someone you know may be struggling with heroin addiction include the following:
- Paraphernalia: Often people who use heroin on a regular basis will have their own supplies that they use for the purpose. For example, if your loved one shoots up heroin (as opposed to smoking it), he will have a little bowl to dissolve the heroin in water, cottons to soak it up, and needles to inject the drug. If you find these items, it’s a sign of regular heroin use.
- Nodding out: Typically when someone is under the influence of heroin, they have a hard time staying focused and coherent. They often nod out, appearing as if they are falling asleep. They may find it difficult to stay engaged in a conversation or remember events that occur when they were in this state.
- Small pupils: While under the influence of heroin, the user’s pupils are often very small, the size of a pinpoint.
- Track marks: Those who inject the drug will have needle marks on their body. These are often found on the inside of the elbow, at the wrist, on the back of the hand, behind the knees, and between the toes. Those who have been injecting for a long-time sufferer from collapsed veins and often must muscle the drug. This means that they do not attempt to inject the drug into their veins and instead inject into a large muscle, usually the thigh, arm, or buttocks.
- Health problems: Some health problems, when seen in combination with other signs, can indicate heroin abuse. These can include miscarriage, abscesses, infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C, and blood infections.
- Personality changes: When someone has a heroin problem, they think of little else. They disengage with family and friends and have no interest in old hobbies or family commitments. Anyone else’s needs or problems are immaterial, especially if they conflict with the person’s ability to get or stay high.
- Withdrawal symptoms: Once addiction sets in, being without heroin even for a brief period of time can cause significant physical symptoms in the user. These are called withdrawal symptoms and will vary from person to person but may include heavy sweating, nausea and vomiting, irritability, and muscle and bone aches.
- Overdose: It may sound obvious but an overdose certainly indicates that heroin use has reached a critical level. A person who is overdosing on heroin is generally unconscious and cannot be roused. They may have a bluish tint to their lips, nails, and skin, and they may be breathing shallowly or not at all. Contact 911 immediately if you think this may be the case.
If you believe that heroin abuse or addiction is an issue for your loved one, don’t wait to connect them with intensive detox and psychotherapeutic treatment that can help them regain a healthy, drug-free life. Contact us at Michael’s House now to talk with our admissions coordinators about how we can help.