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Identify Heroin Abuse

Identify Heroin Abuse

Heroin Abuse: Heroin is a substance that is both illegal and extremely addictive

The substance derives from opium from the poppy plant before it is refined to morphine, then further chemically modified to become heroin. Despite its deserved negative reputation for its high risks, heroin continues to be a commonly abused drug in the US.

Heroin is sold and used in a number of forms including white or brown powder, a black sticky substance (tar heroin), and solid black chunks. These different forms of heroin can be smoked, snorted, or injected under the skin, into muscle, or directly into the veins.

Regardless of the technique of use, the drug delivers its potent effects quickly. As the strength of any street drug is hard to gauge from batch to batch, the potential to overdose on heroin is always a distinct possibility.

Why Do People Use Heroin?

Heroin is abused for the immediate pleasurable feelingsit can elicit, including:

  • A surge of enjoyable feelings called the “rush.”
  • A warm, calm feeling.
  • A heavy, slowed feeling in the arms and legs.
  • An increased sense of well-being and confidence.

What Heroin Looks Like

Concerned that your teen is using heroin but aren’t sure what to look for? Keep an eye out for paraphernalia that is often associated with heroin use, such as spoons, lighters, and syringes.

Depending on the type of heroin your teen is using, you may even be able to smell the drug.

Click Here to see examples of what heroin looks like.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of heroin abuse will depend on how much, how often, and how long it has been abused.

Immediate Symptoms

Some users report immediate negative symptoms from the drug like:

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Delayed Symptoms

Immediate effects of using heroin involve the body slowing down and being less active and alert. Also:

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Signs of Long-Term Use

With continued use over a period of time, the person abusing heroin may exhibit other signs like:

  • Needle marks and bruising on the injection sites.
  • Skin problems like abscesses and infections.
  • Heart problems.
  • Disease in organs including the liver and kidneys.
  • Collapsed veins from repeated injections.

If you or someone you love has been displaying any of the above signs and symptoms of heroin abuse, there is something you can do. Call 1-877-894-2346 to receive more information and potential treatment options.

The following short documentary from the New York Times illustrates the heroin addiction epidemic in the US.