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Is My Daughter Addicted to Heroin?

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), heroin, regardless of the way it is administered, is addictive. Once a heroin addiction kicks in, users will find themselves in a downward spiral, rushing to find that next fix. Unfortunately, heroin affects everyone, including brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters of all ages. In fact, a nationwide study entitled Monitoring the Future, backed by NIDA, has confirmed that thousands of children in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grade have had experience with heroin. Although some of these children successfully beat the heroin addiction alone, the majority do not. Additionally, although most heroin users are male, use among females has become a nationwide concern. Daughters, sisters, and friends are at risk for being exposed to heroin. What happens however, if your daughter has already been exposed? Are there signs to be aware of? Can anything be done? First, parents and loved ones need to understand what heroin is, and how strongly it affects individuals.

What is Heroin?

Heroine, also known as the street names smack, junk, or skag, is a highly-addictive narcotic extracted from morphine. Heroine is typically injected, snorted, sniffed, or smoked. Within seven to eight seconds, users who inject heroin begin to feel euphoric and bliss. The same effect takes close to 15 minutes for those who choose to smoke the drug. Feeling of euphoria and happiness are quick-lived though, and users typically use again shortly after the effects wear off. Unfortunately, this sort of behavior quickly becomes serious as users become addicted and desperate for more. When this happens, there are a variety of signs and symptoms that the addict displays.

Signs of Heroin Addiction

If you suspect your daughter is addicted to heroin, there will almost always be tell-tale signs that's typically shared amongst every user. After the effects of heroin have worn off, addicts tend to become extremely lethargic and spend uncommon amounts of time sleeping. Because of this, they usually tend to forget to finish work, miss important dates, and neglect responsibilities. When the addict is awake, behavior is sporadic, ranging from bursts of energy followed by nodding off again. Addicts almost always become defiant and defensive when questioned, and will go to great lengths in the beginning to hide their drug use from loved ones. Furthermore, her physical appearance will start to deteriorate, and unbrushed hair, unkempt clothing, and poor hygiene become common.

The aforementioned signs of heroin abuse alone are not enough. These symptoms are typical of other types of drug use, whether it be prescription or illegal, and doesn't necessitate heroin use. However, if the suspected addict also has heroin paraphernalia, there is an increased it not certain chance that she is using. General heroin paraphernalia consists of burned spoons, syringes (when not needed for medical reasons), burn marks on aluminum foil and/or drinking straws, missing shoelaces, plastic bags with white powdery residue, and smoking pipes. Along with the psychological signs of heroin use and paraphernalia, heroin addicts almost always exhibit specific physical signs. The most common psychological warning signs of a heroin addicts are unusually dilated pupils, weight loss, dry mouth, signs of needle marks on the arms (but can also be in several places on the body), loss of menstruation, infection, skin rashes and sores, and shortness of breath.

What to Do if You Expect Your Daughter is a Heroin Addict

It's imperative to act early if you suspect heroin use. According to the NIDA, treatment is much more effective if heroin use is caught early. There are available treatment centers all across the world that have dealt with heroin addiction for decades. Doctors usually prescribe methadone or buprenorphine in order to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms. The key, however, is too seek help immediately. With the assistance of behavioral therapy and medications, addicts have a fighting chance of beating the addiction.


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