heroin use

Heroin Use: Recognizing the Signs in Your Son or Daughter

Heroin use can affect every part of your child’s life, changing the way he thinks, acts and even interacts with you. According to Narconon.org, 17 percent young adults use some type of drug during their day, and that number is growing. Heroin is everywhere, from government housing to the suburbs. Recognizing the signs of heroin use early on is vital.

If you think your son or daughter might be using heroin or any other type of drug, it essential that you seek help. Here are some specific signs you can look for to identify heroin use.

Emotional Signs of Heroin Use

Emotions during the teenage years change quickly due to hormones and everyday issues. If your child is abusing heroin, emotional signs won’t be enough to pinpoint heroin use, but here are some red flags:

  • Highs and lows. Euphoric and full of energy to depressed on the same day.
  • Low grades
  • Angry or depressed behavior
  • Dropping out of school-related events and hobbies, such as clubs and sports
  • Consistently breaking the rules
  • Consistently challenging authority
  • Social isolation- even from family and friends

Physical Signs of Heroin Use

There are several physical signs to look for. Some signs are withdrawal related, which means they occur when the body has grown dependent on the drug and rebels when it is taken away. Some symptoms are also much more likely to occur as tolerance to heroin builds. This is when consumption increases.

Physical symptoms to watch for include:

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Itchy skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shallow breathing
  • Trouble following conversations
  • Chills
  • Stained fingers
  • Track marks (from IV drug use)
  • Stomach cramps and complaints of constipation
  • Nodding out (If your son or daughter takes a trip to the bathroom, comes back and is falling asleep five minutes later, this is a red flag)

Chronic use, especially intravenous use, can lead to serious issues like blood infections, the contraction of hepatitis C or HIV, abscesses and collapsed veins. It’s important to note that addiction doesn’t require chronic use when it comes to heroin. In fact, this drug is so strong, your child may become addicted after just using it one time.

Paraphernalia Connected to Heroin Use

  • Burnt spoons
  • Tiny baggies
  • Tan or whitish powdery residue
  • Small glass pipes
  • Syringes
  • Black smudge marks mysteriously on doorknobs and light switches, cabinets, etc.
  • Aluminum foil in your child’s bedroom, in their vehicle

Behavioral Symptoms of Heroin Use

Using heroin also affects behavior. If your son or daughter is using, look for signs such as wearing long pant or long sleeves in inappropriate weather. This could indicate that your child is trying to hide track marks on his arms or legs caused by intravenous use. You may also notice:

  • Deceptive behavior
  • Stealing or asking for money constantly
  • Increased time spent sleeping
  • Loss of motivation
  • Hostile behavior
  • Garbled speech
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Low self-esteem
  • Declining attention to appearance
  • Compulsive drug seeking behavior (irrational, angers when doesn’t have money, manic, outbursts)

What to Do

As soon as you notice your child exhibiting symptoms of potential heroin use, talk to them. They may be drowning in heroin addiction and may not be able to stop using it on their own. They may just be waiting for someone to notice and reach out to them.

Your next step is to seek help. Gracious Care Recovery Solutions offers addiction recovery services to individuals over 18. Through evidence based therapy and a spiritual foundation, Gracious Care Solutions can help your son or daughter successfully recover and heal. Whether your child needs PHP, OP or IOP addiction treatment, Gracious Care Solutions can help.