Last Updated on June 1, 2016 by Morris Green
We recently published a blog in which we spotlighted the reality of heroin. Here’s the recap:
In the United States, heroin deaths quadrupled from 2000 to 2013. In 2013, 43,982 deaths were attributed to drug poisoning due to heroin.
Obviously, our nation is facing a major heroin abuse and addiction problem. But what does it look like? Can you spot someone who is abusing or addicted to the drug before they suffer an overdose?
Heroin is an opiate. By construction, an opiate drug relieves pain and reduces the intensity of the pain signals that reach the brain. It even affects the areas of the brain that control the emotional reaction to pain. Some opiate drugs, like OxyContin and Percocet, are legal. Heroin is an illegal opiate.
Addiction to heroin creates a destructive cycle. Some experiment with street heroin and that triggers abuse and/or addiction. Others take a prescription opiate and develop a prescription drug addiction. When obtaining their drug of choice grows too costly or impossible, they turn to heroin as a substitute.
The Life Changing Cycle of Heroin Dependence
Addiction is dependence. It can be physical, psychological, or a combination of the two. Heroin addicts cope with very real physical impacts. The effects can be a clear signal to outsiders that something is amiss. You might first notice one of the 10 signs of drug addiction, which can include things like denial, mood swings, mental health issues, and new and unhealthy relationships.
Heroin dependency creates a vicious and life changing cycle. An individual that is addicted often needs a fix, or another dose of the drug, within seven to eight hours of their last. Withdrawal symptoms can look like a sudden and intense onset of the flu. Someone in the midst of withdrawal can have hot and cold sweats, ache all over, hallucinate, suffer from disorientation, and complain of being in severe pain.
If an addict cannot score heroin quickly, they may go to the hospital complaining of severe stomach or back pain. It’s common for hospitals to treat such patients as severe flu sufferers and sometimes give them a minimal shot of morphine or another pain relieving drug to assist with insistent complaints of pain. Depending on the tolerance of the individual, the shot may not do much.
Physical symptoms will keep deteriorating until an addict gets a fix from heroin or a similar drug. And this cycle will repeat over and over and over again becoming their lifestyle.
More Warning Signs
Withdrawal symptoms are not the only indicators of a heroin problem. If you notice needles or syringes without a medical purpose, burned spoons, burn marks on gum wrappers, aluminum foil or straws, missing shoelaces, white powdery resident on plastic bags, or pipes combined with a a person’s tendency to grow defensive over your seeing or asking about these items, the person in question could very likely be using heroin.
Heroin abuse and addiction change a person, destroying their health, relationships, and their future. If you or someone you know are struggling with heroin use, get help now.