5 Signs of Heroin Abuse

Heroin is a highly addictive and extremely dangerous drug, a member of the opioid family. The potential for overdosing on heroin is high – in 2018, nearly 15,000 people died from a drug overdose involving heroin in the United States alone.

If you suspect that a loved one might be abusing drugs, but aren’t sure what to look for, keep an eye out for any of these common signs of heroin abuse:

Behavioral Changes

One of the first signs of heroin abuse you might notice in your loved one is a change in their behavior. You may notice them acting secretively or experiencing frequent and more intense highs and lows of emotions.

If your loved one is abusing heroin, you may notice that they’re irritable or suddenly having mood swings. They may also have trouble concentrating, be unable to make decisions, be depressed, or feel paranoid.

Evidence of Injection

This is one of the most obvious, telltale signs of heroin use. Someone who is regularly injecting themselves with a drug will have discoloration of the skin around the injection site. Most often, you’ll see a bruise connected to “track marks”, dark veins running down the area of the body where the person is injecting.

If your loved one is injecting into their muscle rather than their veins, you may also notice “skin popping”, or protruding lumps in the muscle tissue of your loved one’s arms or legs.

However, remember that injecting heroin is not the only way to consume the drug; in fact, most new users will smoke or snort it instead, so stay on the lookout for other signs of heroin abuse even if there are no signs of injection present.

Physical Changes

In addition to bruising, skin popping, and track marks, you may notice a number of other sudden changes to your loved one’s body. You may see them lose a significant amount of weight as their appetite changes.

You may also notice other physical signs like skin infections or collapsed veins.

Changes to the Eyes

If your loved one is abusing heroin, you may also notice significant changes to his or her eyes – specifically that they’ve become bloodshot and/or have smaller or “pinpoint” pupils.

Sudden Financial Difficulties

In addition to all of this, you may notice that your loved one is suddenly having financial problems and may be frequently borrowing money. Once a person becomes addicted to a substance, they will prioritize getting their fix over anything else – even over paying for their necessary expenses like rent or mortgage.  

If you recognize any of these warning signs in one of your loved ones, it’s important to intervene quickly before something terrible happens. Recovery is possible for everyone.

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