What Do I Do If I Suspect a Loved One Is Using Heroin?

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Finding out a loved one may be struggling with addiction can be a troubling time. You may not want to believe it and go through stages of denial, sadness, and anger. However, you will also want to help them the best you can. Heroin, one of the most addictive drugs, can be difficult to deal with once a person has become addicted. There are ways you can help your loved one if you do suspect them of using heroin. By educating yourself properly on addiction and how to help a loved one struggling with it, you can help save their life and get them on the road to recovery. 

Signs of Heroin Abuse

Heroin can be a difficult drug to spot because many that use it are extremely good at hiding their use. One of the most common and well-known signs of heroin abuse is needle “track” marks found on the arms. However, this is not always the case because newer users may not inject the drug to get high. People may smoke or snort the substance, causing no visible marks on their arms. You can still look for signs of heroin abuse, though, in other areas of the body. 

Common signs of heroin abuse include:

  • Decreased pain 
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Sense of euphoria
  • Intense fatigue
  • Intense itching
  • Slower breathing and heart rate
  • Dry mouth 
  • Flushed/warm skin
  • The feeling of heavy limbs

The Dangers of Heroin Abuse

If you notice any of the above symptoms in a loved one, it is a necessity to speak up. This is because there are a number of common effects linked to heroin abuse that can lead to severe health complications and can even be fatal. 

Such dangers include:

  • Addiction
  • Withdrawal 
  • Depression
  • Collapsed veins
  • Decreased memory
  • Poor impulse control
  • Paranoia 
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired verbal/cognitive functioning
  • Constipation
  • Compromised immune system
  • Impulsive and risky sexual behaviors
  • Miscarriage
  • Endocarditis (infection affecting the heart lining and valves)
  • Overdose

Overdose is unfortunately common with heroin use. It can even happen the first time someone uses heroin. An overdose can lead to permanent brain damage, coma, or even death. This is why it is imperative to speak up if you suspect someone of heroin abuse. 

Holding an Intervention

One thing you can do to help a loved one realize their addiction is causing damage to themselves and those around them is to hold an intervention. This can help motivate them to seek help for their addiction because they cannot deny they have a problem when it is staring them in the face. An intervention is one of the best ways to help convince a loved one to get help. However, you must know how to have an intervention for the best and most helpful impact.

Start With an Intervention Specialist

To begin the process of planning an intervention, you should start by contacting an intervention specialist. This person will help facilitate the communication between the people holding the intervention and the person that the intervention is for. They are there to ensure the intervention is successful and to help the addict come out of their denial during the process. 

Bring Together the Necessary People 

Next, you should create the group of people that will be present for the intervention. This should include parents, siblings, partners, close friends, and maybe even coworkers, as these people are the ones that will help convince the addict to get help. Once everyone has agreed to help, the specialist will begin discussing the best way to talk to the struggling loved one. 

Practice and Learn

The specialist will then begin teaching the people in the group about addiction and addiction recovery. This will help the group be prepared and come from a place of understanding when talking to the addict. The specialist will help the friends and family practice what to say and introduce possible scenarios that may occur. The goal is to communicate how the addiction affects not only the addict themselves but also those around them to help the addict realize that they have a problem. What is going to be said should be written down beforehand and reviewed by the group and intervention specialist prior to the actual intervention.

Choose Where & When It Will Take Place

The group and intervention specialist will decide on a time and place to hold the intervention. Plan for the intervention to be anywhere from thirty to ninety minutes, and it t is best to hold the intervention in a familiar setting to the addict where they feel comfortable. It is also best to try to hold the intervention when the person is not under the influence of any mind-altering substances. 

Be Prepared & Take Precautions

You never know what may happen during the actual intervention. This is why the intervention specialist’s presence is vital, as these individuals are trained to manage hostile environments and keep the peace. However, if things get out of hand and anyone’s life is in danger, call 911 immediately. 

At Northstar Transitions, we understand how difficult it can be when you find out a loved one has an addiction to heroin. You may be feeling heartbroken, shocked, angry, in grief, or feeling other intense emotions. However, you must be able to take a step back and look at the situation rationally should you want to help your loved one. It is crucial to educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of heroin abuse as well as its dangers before staging an intervention. Prepare for this thoroughly so the specialist can help you make a plan for the intervention. You can then contact an intervention specialist and work with friends and family members to decide the best way to encourage a loved one to seek help. If you or someone you love is struggling with heroin addiction, call us today at (303) 558-6400. We can help you take the proper steps to get help and start the healing process.