How to Tell If Someone Is on Heroin

Synthesized from the poppy plant, heroin is an opiate and its use can lead to life-threatening consequences. This illegal street drug is classified as a Schedule-I substance in the U.S., which means that it is not approved for medical use. Heroin is a highly addictive drug, and in most cases, a few uses results in an abuse problem, which in turn leads to an addiction. It is important to learn how to tell if someone is on heroin because this helps you persuade them to seek professional help to break the addiction. Let's find out more about it.

Signs Indicative of Heroin Use

There are a number of physical and mental signs indicating that a person is a drug abuser. The same is the case with heroin users.

1.       Physical Indicator

The pupils of a heroin user will stay constricted for at least 4 hours after use. You will also notice them displaying shallow breathing with certain signs of disorientation. As addicts do not pay much attention to personal hygiene, you may also notice them have a dirty, unkempt appearance. Regular heroin use may also lead to quick weight loss or gain. If a drug addict has not used heroin for some time, they will display withdrawal symptoms such as sneezing, yawning, stomach cramps, tremors, and diarrhea. And the appearance of a heroin addict before and after will look very different, and you won't miss it.

2.      Changes in Social Behavior

Paying attention to how a person behaves socially is another way of learning how to tell if someone is on heroin. There may be some evident changes, such as the following:

  • They may try to hide parts of the body by wearing long-sleeved clothes.
  • They may not pay attention to bathing, combing, or brushing their teeth regularly.
  • They may have changed friends and start hanging out with someone you have never seen before. Ask their old friends to know what is going on.
  • They do not mind stealing money. You may even find them lying about their activities.

3.       Emotional Change

Heroin users may look depressed and show no interest in being a part of social circles or functions. Mood swings can be really unexpected. They also look restless and anxious, and may even act aggressively towards loved ones. Alienation from social circle eventually affects the emotional health of an addict, which leads to serious episodes of anxiety and depression.

4.      Drowsiness

People use heroin to get a rush of euphoria that usually lasts no longer than a few minutes. However, that euphoric state is followed by several hours of drowsiness. Therefore, you may consider a drop in energy levels and an increase in duration of sleeping or drowsiness at unusual times an indicator of heroic use.

5.      Needle Marks

Heroin addicts are likely to have scars, needle marks, and bruises from needle inserting. If you know your loved one has not undergone a medical procedure but they still have those needle marks on the hands and arms, this may well be an indication that you are dealing with a drug addict.

6.      Watch Out for These Drug Paraphernalia

Learning how to tell if someone is on heroin is generally more about noticing a change in an individual's physical and mental state. However, you should also watch out for certain drug paraphernalia. For instance:

  • Syringes: If someone you know is in possession of a needle and you know they do not need it for any medical reason, this may indicate they are using heroin, as syringes are the most popular method of consuming this drug. Along with a hypodermic needle, you may also find a filter of some type, a spoon, and even a lighter. A rope, belt, or cord is also used to tie off an individual's arm to locate veins easily.
  • Aluminum Foil: It is possible to smoke heroin with the help of aluminum foil. They use two pieces: one is to keep heroin over a flame and the other one to inhale the vapors of heroin. Some individuals use empty plastic pen cases and rolled bills as straws, so do not ignore them either.
  • Pipes: Some heroin addicts are also in possession of metal or glass pipes with bulbous ends. They also do not mind using makeshift apparatuses – you may see them get creative and use household items for heroin consumption.

What You Can Do to Help?

When you know how to tell if someone is on heroin, it is quite natural to feel devastated when you know a loved one is using heroin. You need to proceed carefully and know that any wrong step can only make things worse. Even if a drug user wants to stop, they may not know how they can do it. Therefore, you need to approach them carefully and convince them to use whatever help is available to break the addiction. Do not try to blame them or judge them; instead, explain how you can help them work with a professional who can help break the addiction.

Understand that even if a heroin user stops using it for a while, there is always a chance of relapse. They need support in sobriety, and that is why you have to be around to encourage them and abstain from using it again. You can encourage them to enroll into a training program, conducted by therapists, to help them learn how to battle an addiction and beat it. They may not always be willing to use a professional's help, but your words will play a role here. Encourage them to start and continue working with a therapist to improve their chances of breaking their heroin addiction.

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