Heroin Q&A

What Are The Warning Signs Of Heroin Use?

    • Lack of personal hygiene
    • Tendency toward recklessness
    • Withdrawal from family and friends
    • Items of value being “lost or stolen”
    • Burnt Aluminum foil being present in car, room, or in personal effects
    • Mood swings, intense rage, lying, and manipulation
    • Sudden drop in grades and excessive ditching at school
    • Finding evidence of prescription drugs
    • Scratching hands and arms
    • Possession of drug paraphernalia (apples, pens, cut-off water bottles, foil)
    • toilet paper rolls are commonly used to smoke heroin
    • Nodding or Dozzing off during a conversation

What Does Heroin Look Like?

Heroin comes in several forms.

99% of Heroin in America is “Mexican Brown” or “Black Tar which flows out of Mexico.”

83% of all Heroin busts in Kentucky occur in Kenton, Campbel and Boone county.

Physical Signs Of Heroin Use

  • Runny nose and constant sniffling
  • Needle marks on arms and/or legs (shown in pic below)
  • Soars on nostrals and top of lips from smoking heroin
  • Constant “hacking” cough from smoking heroin off of tin foil
  • Loss of appetite and dramatic weight loss
  • Nodding off during day and inability to sleep at night
  • Dark circles under eyes and constant sleepy or groggy expression

How Heroin Is Used?

Heroin can be used in a variety of ways, depending on user preference and the purity of the drug. Heroin can be injected into a vein (“mainlining”), injected into a muscle, smoked in a pipe or using foil, mixed in a marijuana joint or regular cigarette, snorted as powder via the nose, or inhaled as smoke through a straw or pen barrel – Also known as “Chasing the Dragon”.

Heroin is one of the most difficult addictions to conquer. The euphoria that follows using the drug, whether it’s snorted, smoked, or injected, is hard for non-users to comprehend. The desire to recapture this sensation is the cause of the intense psychological addiction heroin users feel.

Warning Signs Of Relapse

What Are The Signs That A Recovering Addict May Be Headed Toward Relapse?

While the individual must maintain disciplines that insure sobriety, there are ways in which others can help. Nearly every person close to an addict is able to recognize behavior changes that indicate a return to the old ways of thinking. There are many danger signs. Most addicts, if approached properly, would be willing to periodically go over an inventory of symptoms with a spouse or other confidant. If the symptoms are recognized and caught early enough, the addict will usually try to change their thinking and get back on track again. A weekly review of the symptoms leading to relapse might prevent some relapses.

  • Exhaustion – Allowing yourself to become overly tired or in poor health. Good health and enough rest are important. If you feel well you’re likely to think well.
  • Dishonesty – This starts with a pattern of lies, followed by lies to yourself or “rationalizing” things you don’t want to do or know you shouldn’t do.
  • Impatience – Things are not happening fast enough, or others are not doing what they should or what you want them to do.
  • Argumentativeness – Arguing small and ridiculous points of view indicates a need to always be right, leading to excuses to use.
  • Depression  – Unreasonable and unaccountable despair may occur in cycles and should be dealt with and discussed.
  • Frustration  – At people and also because things may not be going your way. Remember that things are not always going to be the way you want them to be.
  • Self-Pity – “Why do these things happen to me?”   “Nobody appreciates all I am doing! (for them?!)”   “Nobody understands…”
  • Cockiness  – Got it made – I can handle my addicton. Trying to prove to others you don’t have a problem. Do this too often and it wears down your defenses.
  • Complacency  – It is dangerous to let up on disciplines because everthing is going well. More relapses occur when things are going well than otherwise.
  • Expecting Too Much From Others – “I’ve changed, why haven’t you?” Others may need more time. You can’t expect others to change just because you have.
  • Letting Up On Disciplines – (Counseling, meeting attendance, etc.) This stems from boredom. Stay involved! Boredom with your program leads to relapse.
  • Use Of Mood Altering Chemicals – You may feel the need to ease things with a pill or a drink. This is “cheating” and can easily lead to loss of sobriety.
  • Wanting Too Much – Do not set your goals too high or expect too much. Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting and appreciating what you have.
  • Forgetting Gratitude  – You may be feeling negatively about your life and problems you still have, but it’s good to remember how much better your life is sober!
  • “It Can’t Happen To Me” – This is dangerous thinking. Almost anything can and will happen to you if you get careless. You must stay vigilant, to stay sober.
  • Omnipotence  – You feel you have all the answers, no one can tell you anything, you ignore advice. Relapse is imminent unless drastic changes are made.

Opioids And Opiate-Based Drugs

What Is An Opioid?

 Opioids are a family of medications, used primarily for pain relief, that are derived from Opium. Legal (prescription) opiates include Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin. Illegal opiates include Heroin. All forms of opiates are dangerous and higly addictive whether they are legal or illegal.

Opiate use among teens and young adults is increasing at an alarming rate. Teenagers commonly abuse prescription opiates which almost always leads to Heroin abuse and ultimately addiction. High schoolers are significantly more likely to have tried Heroin or injected an illegal drug (Centers for Disease Control). Even more significant, according to a recent national poll, 40% of high school seniors don’t believe there is any great risk in using Heroin mainly because it can be smoked, much like marijuana.

Heroin is usually made under filthy conditions and can be mixed with many unknown substances (rat poison, feces, dirt). Drug dealers are specifically targeting our youth with the sole intent of getting them “hooked” because once addicted, that person becomes a client for life.

Opiate-Based Drugs: Actiq Heroin Opana Roxicodone
Buprenorphine Hydrocodone Opium Stadol
Codeine Hydromorphone Oxycodone Suboxone
Darvocet Kadian OxyContin Subutex
Demerol LAAM OxyIR Tramadol
Dihydrocodeine Lorcet Oxymorphone Tussionex
Dilaudid Lortab Percocet Ultram
Diacetylmorphine Methadone Percodan Vicodin
Duragesic Morphine Pethidine Vicoprofen
Fentanyl MS Contin Propoxyphene Xodol
Fentora Norco Poppy Tea Zydone

Once someone becomes addicted to Opiates, it’s a VERY difficult journey for them to maintain sobriety.


This organization does not support, endorse, or provide referrals to any medication, practitioner, or treatment program relating to heroin or opiate addiction. We strongly recommend that you call 911 in an emergency situation. Seek the advice of a medical professional to determine the proper course of treatment for your specific circumstance.  If you have health insurance, contact the customer service line for your specific carrier as they are able to help find providers in your area based on your particular coverage.