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Signs and Symptoms

NurseThe signs and symptoms of heroin and opiate abuse can vary among individuals but here are a few common physical and behavioral warning signs:

Physical changes:

Bloodshot eyes or pupils that are smaller or larger than normal.

Sudden change in appetite or sleep pattern.

Deterioration in grooming and physical appearance

Incoherent or slurred speech

Tendency to nod off

Frequent scratching

Track / needle marks (if injecting the drug)

Unsteady gait


Behavioral changes:

Loss of interest in activities, hobbies or sports; decreased motivation

Unusual or unexplained need for money; borrowing or stealing

 Mood swings; irritable and grumpy and then suddenly happy

Decrease in performance and attendance at work or school

Involvement in suspicious or secretive behaviors; withdrawn

Sudden changes in relationships and friends

Frequently getting into trouble

 

Common Opiods

Category and Name

Commercial Name

Street Names

How Administered

Heroin Diacetylmorphine Smack, horse, dope, H, junk, white horse, china white Injected, smoked, snorted
Opioid Pain Relievers Dilaudid, Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab, Duragesic (fentanyl), Demerol, Percocet, Percodan, Oxycontin, Codeine, Opana Oxy, O.C., hillbilly heroin, patches, percs, vikes, Injected, smoked, snorted, orally, topically
Methadone Methadose, Dolophine Done, meth, wafer orally
Suboxone / Subutex Buprenorphine + naloxone, buprenorphine Subs, bupe, stop signs, subu Injected, orally

 

Risk Factors

People of any age, sex or economic status can become addicted to a drug. However, certain factors can affect the likelihood and speed of developing an addiction:

• Personal or family history of addiction. Drug addiction is more common in some families and likely involves genetic predisposition. If you have a blood relative, such as a parent or sibling, with alcohol or drug problems, you’re at greater risk of developing a drug addiction.

• History of physical or sexual abuse

• Being male. Men are more likely to have problems with drugs than women are. However, progression of addictive disorders is known to be faster in females.

• Having another mental health disorder. If you have a mental health disorder such as depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or post-traumatic stress disorder, you’re more likely to become dependent on drugs.

• Peer pressure. Peer pressure is a strong factor in starting to use and abuse drugs, particularly for young people.

• Lack of family involvement. Difficult family situations or lack of a bond with your parents or siblings may increase the risk of addiction, as can a lack of parental supervision.

• Taking a highly addictive drug. Some drugs, such as stimulants, cocaine or painkillers, may result in faster development of addiction than other drugs. However, taking drugs considered less addicting — so-called “light drugs” — can start you on a pathway of drug use and addiction.

 

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