One of the most sinking feelings we can have is to realize that a loved one might be using drugs. Drug use is something that is reported on the news, and it’s hard to think about it happening in our own home. If you believe that your loved one is using heroin, you may feel embarrassed to ask others for help. Drug use and addiction often carry a stigma that creates a sense of isolation for the one using and their family. So how do you find out what someone on heroin looks like? At Thrive Treatment, we can help you understand what to look for and what steps to take if you or a loved one have become addicted to heroin. 

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is classified as an opioid drug processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from poppy plants. The poppy plans that produce heroin are primarily grown in Mexico and South America. Heroin is highly addictive because it enters the brain quickly and has a rapid effect. 

Most users report an initial surge of euphoria or a “rush” followed by a twilight state of sleeping and wakefulness. It can be smoked, snorted, or injected. Heroin carries a high risk of overdose, with nearly a third of all opioid deaths involving it.

What Does the Drug Heroin Look Like?

Heroin can come in a few different forms. It may be a white or brown powder or a black, sticky goo. Heroin has many street names, including smack, junk, H, black tar, and horse. It is often cut with other drugs or substances such as sugar and powdered milk. Heroin can be mixed with water and then injected with a needle; this is known as “shooting up.” In addition to the drug, users typically have supplies for shooting up, such as a spoon, syringes, and lighters. They may also have a belt to tie off their arm so that the veins are more prominent. Heroin users who inhale the drug will usually use a lighter to burn the drug after placing it on aluminum foil and then inhale the substance through some sort of straw.

How Can I Tell if My Loved One Is Using Heroin?

Someone’s appearance will likely not change after just one use, but what does someone on heroin look like?. Regular heroin use can change not the look but the demeanor of your loved one. Those who use heroin regularly may seem sleepy and move more slowly than they have in the past. When they are between uses, many heroin users report muscle and bone pain, chills, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, and itchiness. Those who inject heroin will have track marks and may also have abscesses from injecting. Those who smoke will likely smell of cigarette smoke, have a persistent cough, and sores or burn marks on their nostrils or lips. 

All heroin users will have extremely pinpoint pupils, dark circles or puffiness under the eyes, flu-like symptoms, and a perpetually runny nose. In addition to these physical signs of heroin, you can expect to see a change in the person’s usual demeanor, mood swings, and a general lack of interest in all activities.

Get Help Today at Thrive Treatment

At Thrive Treatment, we blend different modalities of treatment to help you succeed in sobriety. We take a holistic approach that integrates medical, psychiatric, and non-traditional interventions. Integrating relational and behavioral therapies, we put you on the path to sobriety, emotional health, and overall well-being.  If you or a loved one are facing a heroin addiction, we’re here to help. Located in beautiful Santa Monica, we can provide you with an individualized plan that blends modern and traditional practices. Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!  

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