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Spotting Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction kills Americans every year. Because of this addictive drug’s power and reach, everyone should learn the signs of heroin abuse and addiction. Armed with this knowledge, you may be able to recognize someone’s addiction and help save their life.

Physical symptoms of opioid addiction:

Like other diseases, heroin addiction comes with its own set of physical symptoms. These appear almost immediately when someone injects the substance intravenously. Other methods of heroin consumption may cause more delayed symptoms.

The common physical symptoms of heroin use include the following:

  • Constricted pupils
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Shallow breathing
  • A burst of energy followed by exhaustion
  • Itchiness and dry skin

Behavioral signs of heroin addiction:

Sudden changes in a loved one’s behavior could be a sign of opioid abuse. Behavioral changes can be due to both the physical effects of the substance and a constant desire for more. Communicating with family and friends, past interests, and career goals can go by the wayside as their cravings grow for the substance.

Behavioral changes that might suggest heroin addiction include:

  • Telling lies or being deceptive
  • A pattern of slurred or confusing speech
  • Increased need for sleep
  • Withdraw from family and friends
  • Wearing long sleeves and pants even when it’s hot out
  • Poor hygiene
  • Jitteriness or erratic behavior

Being able to identify heroin/opioids and its associated paraphernalia can also help you identify a possible opioid addiction. People addicted to opioids often use tools including syringes, spoons, lighters, and thick rubber bands.

Importance of spotting Opioid addiction:

Opioid addiction is highly dangerous. Using the drug can lead to an overdose or an infection from shared needles. Users can also suffer organ damage and pregnant women who use heroin put their fetuses at risk for a miscarriage or low birthweight.

Opioids can also wreak havoc on a user’s personal life. Because the addiction takes priority over everything else things that were once important, such as hobbies or friends, can become forgotten. Addiction can also make it hard for users to hold jobs or save money.

If you discover that a loved one is abusing, encourage them to seek help.

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