What are the Signs Of Long-Term Heroin Use?
Regular or long-term use of heroin will manifest in users physically because the chemical drive to avoid withdrawal and get the drug trumps everything else, including eating or basic levels of hygiene. Some of the signs of long-term use include:
Continually constipated, a side effect of opioid use that many users attempt to correct by using laxatives.
Intravenous heroin use causes havoc on the user’s skin.
constantly wearing long sleeve shirts, even in the midst of summer heat, in an effort to hide needle marks, called “tracks,” on the arm
Weak immune system
Heroin use takes a very heavy toll on the user’s overall health and immune system.
Vomiting or regular complaints of nausea
Heroin is always reduced, or “cut,” with some other substance, including baby laxative, sugar, flour, caffeine, starch, powdered milk, and quinine.
Helping a Heroin Addict – Before It’s Too Late
The idea of using the signs of heroin use to “catch” someone who is using heroin, is to get them help before it’s too late. Someone dies from a heroin overdose every day in the U.S.
The likelihood of fatal overdose on heroin is incredibly high. Users that get help or abstain from using heroin for a period of time commonly relapse and use the same amount of the drug as they did before stopping. Having lost their tolerance to the opiate, their cardiovascular system shuts down, and they cease breathing. Moreover, heroin users have no idea as to the purity or makeup of the substance they’re ingesting.
In June 2016, at Yale-New Haven Hospital, healthcare workers treated more than 20 cases of overdose due to “an as of yet unknown synthetic opioid,” writes The New Haven Register. This most recent event is by no means an anomaly. Hospitals in communities all over the U.S. are experiencing similar situations.
While state and federal legislators hem and haw over what direction or action to take, law enforcement officials, civic and neighborhood leaders are learning to watch for the signs of heroin use so they can promote compassion, understanding, and, most of all, help others seek treatment. The responsibility to care for our families, friends, and neighbors has therefore fallen to local communities who must, at the very least, understand and recognize the signs of heroin use as early as they become visible.