How to Spot a Heroin User

Heroin addiction is a deadly problem that affects tens of thousands of people in the U.S. Despite efforts from public and private organizations as well as individuals to curb the use of heroin, it has only gone up in recent years. Heroin is one of the primary drugs that’s part of the opioid epidemic in the United States, and it’s not limited to one particular location, demographic or group. Heroin is incredibly addictive, and for a lot of people that addiction begins after using the drug only one or two times. Parents are burying children, as an example, because of heroin overdoses, so how can you tell if someone is using heroin? What are the things you should look out for if you suspect you have a loved one who is using heroin?

Heroin Spoon | How to Spot a Heroin User
Even in the short-term, it can sometimes be apparent that a person is using heroin. At first, causes a euphoric rush or high which can lead to an artificially good mood or an inflated sense of well-being. Following the short-lived euphoric period, a person using heroin will then become very drowsy and may nod off intermittently. A person who uses heroin intravenously, which means they inject it directly into their vein or muscle, will often have track marks which look like small bruises, or they may cover their arms and legs with clothing even when it’s warm or hot outside. Repeatedly injecting heroin can cause veins to collapse, and create sores, holes or abscesses at the injection sites.
When a person is using a drug like heroin, they may make it a point to avoid loved ones when they’re high. Despite avoidance, you’re still likely to start noticing changes in their overall behavior and lifestyle. For example, a person struggling with heroin addiction may become increasingly secretive, defensive or may disappear for long periods of time. People with substance use disorder may withdraw from work, school or other commitments and their relationships with friends and family may be strained. Other red flags can include stealing from loved ones as a way to fuel their habit. Someone who’s addicted to heroin may start sleeping more, eating more or less, and they may have changes in appearance. When someone uses heroin, they quickly build a tolerance and a physical dependence. If someone is physically dependent on heroin and they stop using it suddenly, they will go through withdrawal. Symptoms of heroin withdrawal include nausea, vomiting, pain and weakness, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, and fatigue. Withdrawal symptoms often peak within 48 to 72 hours after the last dose of the drug is taken. Unfortunately, withdrawal is one of the biggest roadblocks to sobriety. Many people in recovery won’t achieve a high when they use the drug after a period of time, but they keep taking it to fend off withdrawal symptoms.
Heroin is misused in a few different ways. It can be snorted, smoked, and injected. Injecting heroin is by far the most common way to misuse this drug and there are a few reasons for that. First, when heroin is liquified and then injected into the vein or muscle, it leads to a rapid and very powerful high, even more so than when it’s used other ways. People who are hesitant to inject heroin often move onto intravenous use eventually.  Unfortunately, injecting heroin is also the most dangerous way to use this already-deadly drug. Injecting it puts people at a greater risk of overdosing because of the intensity of the effects. There is also a risk of infections because of needle usage. Some certain elements are considered heroin paraphernalia for people taking heroin intravenously. First, heroin has to be liquefied before it can be injected. It’s sold as tar or powder. That’s why a heroin spoon is used. A heroin spoon or a bottle cap is used as a place to cook the heroin that’s purchased and turn it into an injectable liquid. Other heroin paraphernalia aside from a heroin spoon can include a hypodermic needle, as well as cotton balls which are used to get impurities out of the heroin liquid. If someone you know is using heroin, you may also see something they use as a tie-off. This can be as simple as a shoestring and it allows for the vein to be more visible and easier to access. So, what should you do if you spot a heroin spoon, any other paraphernalia or other signs of drug misuse? The best thing you can do is contact an addiction professional or an addiction treatment center like The Recovery Village. Heroin addiction is difficult to deal with, and approaching a person struggling with an addiction to heroin can be a frustrating experience if you are not well-equipped with knowledge and information.
How to Spot a Heroin User
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