The main way to fight addiction is to keep it from developing in the first place.
This is a highly dangerous and potent substance that can result in overdose and death. More than 20 percent of heroin users become addicted to the substance, which makes it one of the most addictive substances among drug users. Dependence or abuse of opioid pain relievers are the strongest indicators that an individual will likely abuse heroin.
There are signs that can give a glimpse into whether a person is using heroin and other opioid in the home, such as:
- Dry mouth
- Shortness of breath
- Disoriented mental state
- Cycling between hyper-alert and dozing off
- A droopy appearance
- Small and constricted pupils
- Burned spoons or straws
- Needles found around the home
- Missing shoelaces or random string items next to them
The behavioral changes associated with heroin are also noticeable, such as lying and avoiding eye contact. You may also notice them spending an increasing amount of time in their room and wearing long-sleeved shirts or pants to hide needle marks.
Some factors have been shown to protect against heroin and opioid abuse, such as a long-acting pain prescription at a lower dosage. The motivation to maintain good grades and do well in school is another key factor that seems to lower the misuse of drugs.
Prevention classes are available for families and individuals to attend that give tips and information to discourage drug use. Youth that has strong familial and parental bonds are at lesser risk of abusing drugs and opioid, as well as community norms that discourage the use of substances.
There are prescription drug monitoring programs available for people that have been injured or had surgery that are on opioid pain medication. There are also other programs available worldwide that seek to prevent the initial misuse and eventual dependency on substances like heroin.
Receiving training in life skills and good behavior prevent the illicit use of drugs, discouraging risky behavior that leads to dependency and addiction. Working as a family to build strong bonds of trust and honesty is a large contribution to the prevention of substance abuse. Heroin use is often noticeable, and close family bonds make it more challenging to hide illicit activities like drug use and addiction. When a family member is struggling, help and support will be nearby without judgment or fear of rejection and isolation from those around them.