How to Spot a Heroin User & Addict in Pakistan

It is not easy to spot a heroin addict unless you are familiar with unique body language, physical and emotional changes. Unless you know what to look at, it will be hard to spot a heroin addict. Since they have a bad reputation in society, they try their hard to hide their addiction. People on heroin have different characteristics as compared to general public. The following information is not to spot and harm a drug addict but to spot and help them improve their lives without drug addiction.

List of Physical Changes in a Heroin Addict

  • A persistent and hacking cough
  • Sudden weight loss
  • A loss of appetite or no interest in eating
  • Dry mouth
  • Extremely small pupils
  • Limbs that appear heavy or droopy
  • Cuts, bruises or scabs from picking their skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Abscesses or infections
  • Sores on the nostrils or the lips (due to smoking)
  • Nosebleeds (from snorting)
  • Burn marks on the mouth or fingers (due to smoking)
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Puffiness under the eyes
  • Flu like symptoms (these include: a fever, being achy, always cold and vomiting)
  • A runny nose
  • Constant sniffing
  • Needle marks on the arms or legs and sometimes neck (needle marks can look like red dots or small bruises)
  • Constipation
  • Loss of menstrual cycle

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List of Behavior Changes in a Heroin Addict

  • Poor school or work performance
  • Slow or uncoordinated movement
  • Being disoriented
  • Being very alert or jittery which is followed by nodding off
  • Sleeping a lot
  • Slurring their speech
  • Garbled or incoherent speech
  • Not having any motivation
  • No interest in what was once their favourite activities
  • Having hostility toward other people
  • Lying
  • Acting in a deceptive way
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Lack of hygiene
  • A general disregard for their physical appearance
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Being alone a lot of the time
  • Spending time with all new friends mostly with the same habit
  • Wearing long sleeves or long pants in order to hide needle marks (even if it’s hot outside)

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Unexplained Activities

Some actions are so random that a normal person may not be able to figure the reasons out and may take the whole situation as rare incident. If it happens on regular basis, it will be a good sign of a drug abuser around. Following activities are very common among drug addicts or dealers.

  • Missing prescription pills from a house (especially of an opiate variety)
  • A large increase in mileage on the car used by someone you share it with and this would be due to their trips to go buy drugs
  • Missing money or valuable possessions in house
  • Borrowing money on regular basis
  • Syringes or needles usually hidden around the house
  • Tiny orange caps from syringes
  • Spoons with burn marks
  • Aluminium foil or gum wrappers with burn marks as they are used to smoke Heroin
  • Rubber straps or bands in room
  • Straws (for snorting), or with burn marks (from smoking heroin though foil)
  • Empty plastic pen cases (for either snorting or smoking)
  • Small plastic bags (to contain heroin powder)
  • Water pipes (smoking)
  • Bottled water
  • Bottle caps
  • Rolled up plastic paper or any thick paper or currency (for snorting)
  • Razor blades, IDs and credit cards which have powder residue on them (for snorting snorting)
  • Empty plastic/drug capsules
  • Antihistamine boxes (to counteract the histamine release from heroin use)
  • Small cotton balls, Q-tips or pieces of cigarette filter (used before injecting)

Above are the most common signs that happens in the presence of heroin addict.

If you know anyone who needs help, please contact your nearest rehabilitation center for help.

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