With new methods of addiction treatment seeing success, the epidemic of heroin and opioid addiction, major killers, could one day become diseases of the past. America’s opioid epidemic has reached critical mass. In 2015 (the latest year for which data is available), 12.5 million people abused prescription opioids. Since then, that number has almost certainly climbed much higher. What often begins as a legitimate use of prescription narcotics frequently devolves into a gripping reliance on a cheaper, easier-to-get substitute: Heroin. Naltrexone, in several forms, with appropriate therapy has become the newest solution – and the Crosby Clinic has seen great success with these.
In 2015, 135,000 people tried heroin for the first time. Nearly 13,000 people overdosed and died. Today’s heroin addicts come from all socioeconomic backgrounds and all walks of life. Don’t assume your family is immune. If your loved one is showing the following telltale signs of heroin abuse, call the Crosby Clinic today about our modern addiction treatment options.
Drug Paraphernalia Evidence
You need not be paranoid, but you should be aware of the tools of the heroin addict’s trade: the most important being heroin itself. Heroin may be powdery, crumbly, or sticky and range in color from whitish to nearly black. Be suspicious of any foreign material, especially if you also find any of the following items used to administer the drug:
- Glass or metal pipes
- Spoons containing burnt residue (heroin being injected is heated so it dissolves)
- Tubing or belts (to create a tourniquet to enlarge a vein before injection)
Physical Evidence of Heroin Use
Heroin is a powerful opiate that induces a rush of pleasure and feeling of wellbeing. Unfortunately, the desirable effects are short-lived and an addict becomes singularly focused on chasing the next high. And the next one. It’s a vicious, expensive, all-consuming cycle. Unfortunately, with that surge of pleasure come unwelcome physical side effects. Be on the lookout for these physical symptoms of heroin abuse:
- Slurred speech
- Dry mouth
- Severe itching
- Flushed skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- “Tired-looking” eyes
- Falling asleep in unusual places (sometimes called “nodding off.”)
Additionally, addicts who inject heroin may have “track marks” on the forearms, legs or even feet. Fresh track marks look like unhealed puncture wounds. Old track marks may be scarred or look darker than the rest of the skin.
Addicts live isolating, lonely and often shame-filled existences. They have a very real illness that dominates every aspect of their lives. Without help, they’re powerless to do the things they need to do and used to enjoy doing. If you have a loved one who seems to have transformed into a person you no longer recognize, especially if you also notice physical signs of heroin addiction, it’s time help your loved one help himself. Behavioral signs of heroin addiction include:
- Secrecy. Addicts need privacy to hide their drug use.
- Attempts to hide track marks — for example, addicts may insist on wearing long sleeves even in the heat.
- No interest in eating
- Disappearing for long periods of time. Addicts spend a lot of time looking for and buying heroin.
- Disregard for personal hygiene.
- Hanging out with a new group of friends.
- Stealing. If you’re concerned a loved one is battling heroin addiction and you notice cash missing from your wallet or valuables missing from your home, there’s a strong possibility the addict is stealing to support his habit. Heroin prices vary, but on average, a single dose may cost around $20. A “hard-core” addict may spend as much as $200 per day to feed his or her addiction. The longer an addict uses heroin, the more of the drug it takes for them to achieve the high they crave.
Tough Love and Tough Conversations
A heroin addict is playing Russian roulette. Every fix could be the one that leads to overdose. Heroin addicts can recover, but they need heroin detox medication and support from a drug rehabilitation center that specializes in heroin treatment options. Most addicts don’t have the fortitude to seek treatment on their own. If the above signs and symptoms sound familiar to you, your loved one needs you. He needs help.
While there are many addiction treatment centers out there, the Crosby Clinic in San Diego is different. Our center does not take a Band-Aid approach to heroin treatment. Our approach to addiction is multifaceted. We use a combination of naltrexone and therapy to simultaneously treat the addiction and its underlying causes.
At the Crosby Clinic, we don’t view our patients as a revolving door of addicts. We view them as valuable, worthwhile individuals with unique struggles and stories. Our goal is to give them the tools to craft their own version of a happy ending. If you are seeking help for a heroin user, contact us today. Tomorrow may be too late.
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