How Can I Tell If Someone I Love Is Using? 4 Clear Signs of Heroin Use

Updated on April 9, 2019

Are you worried that your close friend or family member might have a heroin addiction? Here are the 4 clear signs of heroin use to watch out for.

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Of all the drug-related hospital visits, 18% of them are from overdoses or complications due to heroin.

It’s no joke – in Europe, one in five drug-related deaths are from the opiate-derivative drug. So if you suspect a loved one is using, don’t be shy.

First, learn the signs of heroin use, then approach them about it. You need to get them help before it’s too late.

1. They’re Being Secretive

Addicts will do a lot of things to hide an addiction, for one main reason: they don’t want to stop. And if someone figures out that they’re using, they may have to stop. Or at least be encouraged to stop.

If your friend suddenly drops out of plans all the time, makes excuses at work, and generally pulls away socially – they may be using drugs.

This isn’t unique to heroin, this goes for any addictive behavior. Read this article to learn more about addictive substances.

2. They Look “Sunken”

Heroin has a big impact on people’s physical appearance. Usually, they’re in such high need/search of the drug, they don’t do normal self-care things.

Like brushing their hair, changing clothes, feeding themselves, or even getting enough sleep. That plus the effect of the drug can make heroin users look a little bit like zombies.

Not in the grotesque scar and oozing flesh way, but with dull looking skin, big under eye circles, and sunken looking eyes.

People who use heroin don’t get hungry often, so it’s common for addicts to drop weight fast. That’s where you get the image of a skinny or starving junkie.

If your normal appetite friend starts to act like they’re never hungry, it could be heroin or another appetite suppressant drug, like cocaine.

3. Track Marks and Finger Burns

While these are the most obvious signs of heroin use, they’re the ones an addict is most likely to hide.

If someone’s using, try to casually take them by the arm. If they’re self-conscious about their track marks (or they’re sore from shooting up) they’ll snatch their arm away.

You may also see people wearing weather-inappropriate clothing to hide their arms. It may not be easy to get an answer out of them about why they’re wearing a hoodie when it’s 80 out.

Remember, they’re probably embarrassed and being generally avoidant so they can keep using.

4. Drug Paraphanelia

Heroin use is more complex than other drugs. You can’t just take it like a pill, like some other drugs. You need a bunch of stuff to shoot up or smoke up correctly.

That means that your addict may start leaving strange things around, or that some of your things may go missing. Spoons, shoelaces, and rubber bands are some of the first items people notice missing or around the house.

At first, the addict will hide their usage and paraphernalia well, but as they get taken over by the drug, they’ll get lazier about it.

If you seem to notice things like small baggies laying around, syringes, caps from needles, or rubber bands (cut in half) lying around, that’s a sign of heroin use.

Signs of Heroin Use

If your gut tells you something’s wrong with your friend or loved one, trust your gut. There are endless stories where someone thought something was going on but wrote it off as them being silly.

Heroin is a deadly drug and you need to pay attention to the signs of heroin use.

Need a dose of good news after all that? Learn about the high school that is making recovery a priority for their students. 

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