The signs of heroin addiction can manifest in different ways.
There can be changes in the physical appearance and actions of the addicted individual. Since heroin is ingested by smoking, snorting, or injection, different usage methods may be present.
Changes in Appearance:
After use, the addicted individual will have flushed skin, labored breathing, and tiny eyes. As in many addictions, there is usually a loss of self-care. The user’s priority will be getting the next fix of heroin.
You may see a once well-kept individual covering their body with long-sleeved shirts and long pants to hide the signs of heroin addiction: injection sites or the sores from incessant picking at their skin, a common sign of their addiction.
Changes in Actions:
Confusion and disorientation are often associated with heroin addiction. After the initial “high” (commonly referred to as the “rush”), there are periods of fatigue until the user can once again experience the euphoria of heroin. Users will also often nod off after the opiate effect has worn away.
Many heroin addicts will experience weight loss and develop odd sleeping patterns. Their drug use will also impact speech, often causing slurring and incoherence.
Because the effect of heroin is a sudden sense of euphoria followed by a “crash,” the need to keep the feeling going is paramount. Since it is a costly addiction, criminal activity and theft are commonplace. This need to constantly feed the addiction will result in a loss of interest in once-normal behavior and activity. The user’s goal is to keep the “rush” going and counteract the negative post-“rush” effects.
Since there are various methods to take heroin, the signs of heroin paraphernalia may differ from person to person. Since heroin comes in powder form, a common sign of use is tiny plastic bags or wrappers.
If the individual is injecting the drug, there will be syringes and some type of tying-off mechanism, like a rubber tube or even a belt.
Those who smoke heroin will use some type of water pipe. Straws will usually be found near the smoking location.
Heroin addiction is a deadly dance. The good news is that with a willingness to overcome and the proper treatment, freedom is possible. Look for signs, and be strong enough to help those you know who may be in this downward spiral of heroin addiction.