Signs of Heroin Use

If you feel that your loved one has been acting strangely or differently and you are concerned about them, you could be noticing some of the warning signs of heroin addiction. When it comes to heroin addicts it is usually difficult to get them to admit that they are using the drug and that they need help. Walking up to your loved one and blatantly asking, “Are you using heroin?” will almost always result in a dishonest answer. Their lack of honesty and coming forward about their addiction can stem from several problems such as shame, guilt, denial or other issues. Before approaching your loved one about their problem it is a good idea to investigate and seek out the warning signs of heroin use and heroin addiction. Once you are sure that your loved one is abusing heroin, then it is time to confront them and get them the help they need to break free from this deadly addiction.

Signs of Heroin Addiction

Physical signs of heroin use: Physical changes cannot be hidden or changed and heroin does take its toll on the body. Some changes that you might notice in your loved ones physical appearance can be itching, vomiting, bruises, track marks, sores/burns, lack of personal hygiene, or difficulty sleeping/waking and nodding off randomly throughout the day. Behavioural changes and mental changes can be the main tell-tale signs of heroin use. Your loved one may have changes in their academic or work life; grades falling, showing up late, missing days, losing jobs or inability to hold down a job for a long period of time. Your loved one could also become angry and agitated easily and begin to engage in risky, dangerous, or even illegal behaviour. Poor judgment, unsafe sex, unclear thoughts, lack of motivation, acting sneaky or deceitful are additional signs of heroin use. If your loved one is experiencing financial issues or even stealing money from family and friends, then it is possible they are abusing heroin.

Heroin use signs: Heroin can be smoked, snorted or injected; depending on the method of use you could find various items or paraphernalia that have been left behind. Heroin itself can come in the form of a powdery/crumbly substance in a variety of shades of white to dark brown. Black tar heroin looks just how it sounds, a black tar-like substance that is sticky. In addition to finding heroin, you could also find syringes, small glass/metal pipes, tin foil with black streaks, straws or pen caps used to inhale heroin, burnt spoons, belts or rubber tubing (used to tie the arm to make the veins enlarge).

How do I approach my loved one about their addiction?

Unfortunately, there is no rule book or the perfect way to confront your loved one about addiction. However, there are several guidelines and certain steps you can take to ensure that the conversation goes as smoothly as possible so that you reach your goal: admission. Once an addict admits their addiction and they have a problem, then they will be ready to get help. The first thing you need to do is prepare. Know exactly why you are confronting them, know what you are going to say, do research on heroin, addiction, and treatment. Secondly, wait for the right moment. Try to find a place or an activity that your loved one enjoys and feels relaxed doing and try to ensure that they are sober and have not recently used. Once under the influence of heroin, an addict’s temperament can be unpredictable and the conversation can turn south rather quickly. When talking with your loved one it is vital that you remain calm, open and gentle with a non-judgmental tone. Use “I” phrases (“I think… I feel… I am here for you…”). Avoid placing blame on them with “you” phrases (“You did this to me… You make me feel…). Third, take a stand. By confronting your loved one about their heroin use you are saying that you will no longer put up with them using and will not watch them hurt themselves any longer. Tell them that things need to change. Lay out a list of consequences that you are prepared to follow if they will not get treatment. Confronting somebody about their heroin addiction is never an easy task, rather it is very difficult, stressful and painful. Just know, that once the confronting stage is over true healing will finally be able to begin.

How to Get a Loved One into Rehab

After investigating and noticing signs of heroin abuse and then confronting your loved one about their problem, it is now time to get them the help they need to stop the abuse. There are a large variety of Drug detox centers and inpatient addiction facilities that will help the addict flush the drug from their body. After that, there are a multitude of rehab centers and treatment centers that are there to give an addict the tools they need to stay clean and live a life heroin-free. While it may be obvious for you to notice what your loved one is doing to themselves and the damage they are causing to themselves, their bodies, their families, and their life, it is important to remember that the addict himself or herself is seldom aware of the consequences of their heroin use. While some addicts do ask for help on their own, most are afraid of the pain of withdrawal. It is at this point that the addict’s family and loved ones come together to get them the help they need; to stand by their side and help them recover from the disease of heroin addiction.