Identification of a Problem

Many heroin users will be secretive about their habit, so it can be difficult to realise when someone has a heroin addiction. It is normal to be concerned about possible heroin addiction in yourself or someone else. If you or someone else is losing control over their heroin use, or it is affecting their day-to-day life it is very possible that heroin addiction is taking place. Heroin addiction can also have some serious physical effects which can alert others to heroin addiction; these include abscesses, collapsed veins and infections.

There may also be certain paraphernalia around the house which can be used to identify a problem, including:

  • Small empty plastic bags with residue in them may be an indicator of a heroin problem. Heroin is normally stored in small zip-lock bags, or in the corner of a plastic bag, which is then knotted or tied off.
  • Discarded syringes may indicate that heroin is being injected.
  • Spoons with burn marks on them or with residue on them indicate definite drug use, as do bent spoons.

Heroin use may also be indicated by a person’s physical appearance.

  • Heroin will cause a person to have constricted pupils.
  • Heroin users are often seen to itch or scratch constantly.
  • Heroin affects people in different ways; for some it will make them appear hyperactive, for others they may appear to be “nodding off”.
  • Depending on the method in which the heroin is used, addicts may exhibit a raw, red nose or needle marks on their limbs. Individuals who are injecting will often wear long sleeves/trousers even in hot weather.
  • The person may exhibit the symptoms of an illness one day (vomiting, diarrhoea, cramps etc) and appear perfectly fine the next.
  • Heroin users may also appear pale and sweat when the temperature is not particularly hot.
  • The person may often request to borrow money, but be vague about the reasons why they need it.



Self Assessment

Take our quick test to determine the severity of your opiate dependencye


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