Teenagers who have begun to use heroin may abruptly replace their old friends; there may also be a sudden drop in grades or a drop in job performance. The key here is to look for changes in behavior.
Not only are changes in behavior possible, but so are physical changes:
- A heroin user might develop a runny nose or runny eyes and constricted pupils.
- He or she might spend much longer times sleeping, or become apathetic or lethargic.
- A regular user might neglect appearance and hygiene.
- If you’re sharing a home, take a look around for odd items, like small plastic bags, syringes, empty capsules, or packaging material for antihistamines. Razor blades, straws, rolled dollar bills and pipes may also be paraphernalia for the drug.
- You might notice, too, an unfamiliar residue in the coffee-bean grinder.
- It’s possible that cash or other valuables will start to disappear, as a pattern develops of either stealing or borrowing cash.
- It’s possible you might find unexplained valuables — items stolen from other places and brought back to the house before the user sells them for cash.
- You may also find a change in the suspected user’s clothing. For instance, a heroin user will need to cover up needle marks, and so might wear long-sleeve shirts during summer months, specifically to hide that fact.
Look also for signs that the suspected person is using currently. A person may be under the influence of heroin for about four to six hours. During that time, the drug will slow down the person’s reaction time and memory, affecting the way they act and the decisions they make. Not any one sign may mean the use of heroin; however, a number of these signs over time may indicate a pattern that any parent or friend will want to explore.
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