Most people think that addiction to heroin couldn’t happen to them or their family. When we think of a heroin addict we think of someone who lives in a big city and hustles day in and day out to get their fix. The reality is that the face of heroin addiction has changed and it now affects people of all backgrounds, and that millions of addicts and their families are forced to deal with an addiction every day.
When faced with addiction many people don’t know what to do. They can see that the drug is having serious negative consequences for the addict but don’t understand why they just can’t stop. Addiction can be isolating for both the addict and those that love them, and many who deal with it feel alone in their struggle.
Fortunately there is good news, and that is that you don’t have to face addiction alone. Many families have been down the exact same road, and thousands of people find help to overcome their addiction daily.
How to Help a Heroin Addict
If you think that you or someone you love has a problem with heroin there are five simple steps you can take to help them get off of the drug. By following these steps you can do what millions of others have done before you, find help for addiction.
1. Understand addiction – If you’ve never had a drug problem, or sought help for one, then the first thing you need to do is understand how addiction works. People start using heroin for the good feelings the drug produces, and many people who use the drug regularly become dependent on it. Once they have become dependent their bodies and minds basically tell the addict that they need the drug to function, and when they stop using it they experience very uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. They lose the ability to choose if they are going to use or not, and can experience strong urges to use the drug even after they have been clean from it for a period of time.
2. Look for the signs – Heroin is a pain-killer and produces a sedative effect in users. When high on the drug the user’s pupils will be constricted and they may drift in and out of consciousness. The drug may also produce nausea and vomiting, and many addicts become itchy and scratch themselves a lot. These symptoms can be produced by different drugs so finding paraphernalia may be the strongest indication of heroin abuse. The drug can be smoked, snorted, or injected, so things like syringes, dirty spoons, small wax paper bags, balloons, cut straws, or burnt aluminum foil can all be signs of heroin addiction.
3. Approach the addict – Addicts aren’t likely to admit their use, and likely don’t see the problems it is causing. If you are certain that the person is abusing heroin you need to approach them and try to get them to agree that they need help. When talking to the addict try not to blame or nag at them, instead try to find common ground based on positive things about the addict, and emphasize how you see that their life will improve if they stop using the drug once and for all.
4. Find a treatment program – If the addict agrees to enter rehab, do the necessary research to find a center that fits their individual needs.
5. Support the addict – Support comes in many forms and is necessary for the addict once they have completed treatment. Remember you are not alone, and you can learn from the experience of others. One such story of hope comes from a family in Oklahoma who watched their son lose his battle with drug addiction for more than ten years. The parents say that once they found the rehab center at Narconon Arrowhead their son was able to turn his life around. You can read their full story by clicking here.