Heroin is also referred to as: Smack, Thunder, Hell Dust, Big H, Nose Drops, Skag, Junk
Could your friend, your child or yourself be a heroin addict? How can you tell and what could you do if you find out the answer is yes?
Heroin is now popular yet again. Since 2007, its use has steadily increased. Now, 9.2 million people around the world use heroin. Its popularity is a result of cost. It is by far the cheapest drug with the greatest high, an unbeatable combination for addicts. The rate of heroin use among teens from age 12 to 17 has dropped, but the use by adults from 18 to 25 has increased.
In the U.S., the cost of opiate addiction, which includes heroin, now tops $484 billion every year. This includes costs from health care to car crashes to lost employment to the justice system. It is a part of half of all major crime in the country.
Today, there is a significant rise in overdoses, which probably results from a more pure form of the drug now available. In short, the abuser is used to a certain dosage. When the drug is more pure, the “normal” dose will result in an accidental overdose. In the first decade of this century, heroin deaths in the U.S. quadrupled.
Preparation of Heroin for Sale
Heroin is becoming more popular around the world again. Heroin can appear as white or a brownish powder or as a black and sticky substance called “black tar heroin.”
Most of the heroin is smuggled from Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, Mexico and Latin America. Addicts use the drug in a brown or white powdered form which is mixed with, or “cut,” with several different inert substances.
How is Heroin Used?
Users put heroin into their bodies in three ways:
- Snorting: The user inhales a powdered form of heroin into their nose, sometimes using a straw.
- Smoking: The user inhales the drug by using a pipe.
- Injection: The powdered form is mixed with a liquid and then directly injected into a vein using a hypodermic needle.
Injection produces the fastest effect combined with the greatest intensity, usually within only a few seconds after injection. Other methods of use take between 10 and 15 minutes.
Signs of Heroin Abuse
Most people are naïve about the subject of drug abuse, particularly heroin abuse. While it is hard for most to pin down the cause, these symptoms and signs may be helpful to identify an addict:
Paraphernalia: Besides the physical signs, there are also other signs that the heroin abuser will have around them. These may be found in their rooms, homes, cars or offices. The following are found wherever heroin is prepared or used.
- Needles or syringes that aren’t needed for medical reasons
- Foil or gum wrappers that have burned marks
- Straws with burn marks
- Silver spoons that have scored or burned marks
- Missing shoe laces which may have been used to tie off veins before injections
- Pipes such as water pipes that may be used to smoke heroin
- Small plastic bags that have a white and powdery residue within them
The following behavioral signs may indicate a drug problem:
- Lying or deceiving
- Avoids eye contact
- Frequent incoherent or slurred speech
- Increased need for sleep
- Problems performing well in school or at a job
- Decreased attention to cleanliness or appearance
- Excessive borrowing or stealing money from friends
- Disappearance of valuables
- Long sleeves and pants even in hot weather to hide needle marks
Turn to the Professionals
Withdrawal from heroin is not a home project; the results can be fatal. Never ask the abuser to “just quit.” This is a serious medical condition. The addict can no more cure themselves than a cancer patient can. The families of addicts, their family physicians nor their clergy can help the addict through withdrawal. This is absolutely an inpatient procedure within a specialized facility.
There are many methods and venue of treatment available. Start with a talk with a local addiction counselor. They are usually available in cities and counties as part of the local mental health clinic. They can educate families of addicts about the addiction itself. They can also help you find out more about what inpatient treatment is available. You can also visit the websites of various treatment facilities and learn about their programs and success rates, or call and speak with one of the staff members.