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Heroin Addiction: Key Signs You May Have A Problem

By Mikayla Price
Heroin overdose was responsible for nearly 15,000 deaths in 2018. Here's how to know the signs of addiction, and why it's important to get help right away.

Heroin is a highly addictive and illegal drug. Heroin is an opioid, which means the drug influences the body’s opioid receptors, according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists. Heroin, since it is an opioid, can relieve pain or discomfort and replace it with pleasure and euphoria, making the drug very addictive. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) revealed that nearly 15,000 Americans died from a heroin overdose in 2018.

Heroin is made from morphine, which is a naturally occurring substance that is found in certain poppy plants, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The drug can be snorted, injected, sniffed or smoked. Heroin either comes in a white or brown powder, or as a sticky black substance called “black tar.” 

Key Signs Of Heroin Use

Some behavioral signs someone is using heroin:

  • quick mood changes
  • changes in sleep pattern
  • putting themselves in bad situations
  • borrowing medication or money

Short term side effects of heroin use:

  • slurring or speaking slower than usual
  • tiny pupils
  • flushed skin
  • shorter attention span

Long term side effects of heroin use:

  • scarred or collapsed veins
  • lung complications
  • bacterial infections in blood vessels or heart valves
  • arthritis
  • high risk of contracting HIV

Get Help Now

Although heroin withdrawal is very uncomfortable, it is not life threatening, according to Chicago-based psychiatrist Lauren Pace. And, more importantly, the initial discomfort is worth it in order to be free from addiction and on a new, more positive path.

If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin addiction, WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.

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