Heroin is an opioid, a drug synthesized from morphine, a natural substance that is cultivated from the seed pods of the Asian opium plant. Morphine is powerfully addictive, and heroin too is no less dangerous for its synthetic properties. By the time it hits the streets, it is in the form of white powder, brown powder or sticky black tar.

It’s a drug that is scary, both in composition and effect. Just a few uses can trigger an addiction that is impossible to shake without medical and psychotherapeutic treatment. If you believe that your loved one is abusing heroin, you have every right to be concerned. Continued abuse can lead to the development of an addiction, health problems, and a host of social consequences that are difficult to overcome.

Learn more about heroin abuse treatment options today when you contact us at Black Bear Lodge.

Under the Influence

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), heroin works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain and affecting the user’s experience of pain and reward. That is, when under the influence of the drug, your loved one likely feels no pain and experiences a high. Unfortunately, the changes to the brain’s functioning also affects the user’s physical functions, depressing their blood pressure and their breathing, which can be fatal.

What does this look like to the outside observer? Family members may note that their loved one under the influence of heroin may:

  • Nod out as if they are falling asleep
  • Be unable to hold a coherent conversation, focus or be present
  • Have flushed skin
  • Have extremities that feel sluggish

Overdose, too, is an effect of a large dose or the cumulative effect of small doses of heroin. Finding your loved one with shallow breathing, a bluish tint to skin or nails, and a nonresponsive state can indicate an overdose that requires immediate medical intervention.

Lingo

Almost everyone who does heroin – whether they abuse the drug irregularly or take repeated daily doses – must purchase their drugs from a supplier. Often, regular users of the drug have multiple people they turn to in search of the substance when they’re ready to buy. One of the signs of heroin abuse is the cryptic texts or phone conversations that may precede these transactions. Street names for the drug and obscure references to locations for exchange can be a tipoff that your family member is meeting someone to buy heroin.

Common slang terms for the drug include:

  • Dope
  • Smack
  • H
  • Junk
  • Skag

Paraphernalia

There are a number of ways to use heroin, including snorting the drug, smoking the substance in a pipe, or injecting it with a needle (either in a vein or in a muscle).

Finding anything related to heroin abuse among your loved one’s possessions can be a sign of the problem:

  • Needles
  • Cookers
  • Cottons (mini pieces of cotton)
  • Tiny tubes of sterile water
  • Pipes stained black
  • Razor blades, mirrors, surfaces with scrapes and powder residue (for snorting the drug)
  • Tiny baggies or pieces of plastic wrap with white, brown or black residue

Does Your Loved One Need Help?

When a combination of any of these issues coincides with concerns of heroin abuse, it can be a sign of a drug problem that requires treatment. Don’t allow your loved one to fall victim to heroin addiction. Contact us today at Black Bear Lodge and get the information you need about treatment services that will be effective in helping your family member before it’s too late. Call now.