Heroin use has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, heroin use has increased a staggering 63 percent between 2002 and 2013, with increases seen in both genders, most age groups and all income levels. Sadly, the rise in heroin use has also resulted in more deaths from heroin overdoses, with more than 8,200 deaths reported in 2013 alone.
One of the primary reasons for the increase in heroin usage is the rise in prescription opioid use. As physicians write more scripts for painkillers like oxycodone, fentanyl and codeine, more people are becoming hooked on these drugs. When it becomes too difficult or too expensive to get the prescription drugs on the street, many turn to heroin as a cheaper, more convenient alternative.
The Addiction of Heroin
Heroin is a highly addictive drug that can even hook first-time users. The drug produces an intense rush or “high,” followed by a period of severe depression that makes the user crave more of the drug. Users also develop a tolerance to heroin, which means they will have to take more of the substance to get the same effects over time. Before they know it, users will need the drug just to feel “normal” and at that point, they will do nearly anything to get it.
Signs and Symptoms
If you are concerned someone you love has developed a heroin addiction, there are a number of specific signs to watch for:
- Syringes or needles that are not needed for medical use
- Aluminum foil with burn marks (may also use gum wrappers)
- Straws with burnt ends
- Singed silver spoons
- Small plastic bags with white particles inside
- Missing shoelaces, used to tie off veins for injection
- Small glass water pipes
A person using heroin will also exhibit the following symptoms:
- Constricted pupils
- Shortness of breath
- Drowsiness, tendency to nod off
- Slurred speech
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion or disorientation
Heroin users frequently have track marks on their arms from injecting the substance as well, which they may try to hide with long-sleeved clothing, even during the warmest months of the year. Users may also exhibit extreme personality changes, drifting between euphoria and deep depression. Heroin addicts may withdraw from friends, family and activities and may show signs of hostility toward those closest to them.
If you have seen signs of heroin addiction in someone you love, do not wait to get help. This substance is extremely dangerous, leading to hundreds of overdoses and deaths every year. Contact Simple Recovery today at 888-743-0490 to learn more about the specifics of this addiction and get the help your loved one desperately needs.