If you have a family member or friend who is using heroin or working on recovery, bringing your heroin information up to date is the best way you can help. Treatment professionals say that family members usually lack solid facts—so take our quiz and see what you know about heroin and what you’re only guessing at.
Decide if This Heroin Information Is True or False:
- If it’s not a fine, white powder, then it can’t be heroin. Heroin is always cut with another white substance such as baby powder, cornstarch, or milk sugar. When you see a cellophane packet containing the white stuff, then you know what you’re dealing with.
- Business professionals have no way to access heroin and they know better than to try it. You don’t have to worry about heroin as long as the person you’re worried about isn’t standing on a street corner panhandling for drug money.
- Heroin junkies inject their drug using needles directly into their veins. As long as you don’t see needle marks on your family member, you don’t have to worry that he’s using it.
- People who manage to kick the habit will continue to crave it for years.
Identify the Correct Responses
- Identify the symptoms that can occur during heroin withdrawal: Sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, seizures, insomnia, and cold flashes.
- Your heroin information is not complete unless you can identify the ways that heroin addicts put their health at risk: Hepatitis C and other liver disease, HIV/AIDS, collapse of their veins, cardiac disease resulting from damage to the lining of the heart, damaged heart valves, and gangrene.
Check Your Answers:
- False. Pure heroin is most definitely white. But it is cut with a whole range of products—some of them poisonous, such as strychnine—and the heat used in the manufacturing process can also change the color. Black tar heroin comes from Mexico. There are other strains that are rosy or beige. The color really depends on how it was made and what was added to it.
- False. The old stereotype of the junkie on the corner is just that—an old stereotype. Today’s heroin user can be a corporate executive, a lawyer, a popular artist, or anybody. Sometimes it’s just the easiest thing for a person to get—and desperation will drive them to use it.
- False. More people smoke it and snort it. However, those who inject will use any area of the body where they think it won’t be noticed. It’s easiest to use the arms, but an addict determined to hide the evidence will inject heroin into his groin or even between his toes, although that’s more painful.
- True. Just because you get somebody to detox doesn’t mean he will quit wanting heroin. It’s true that withdrawal reaches a peak at 72 hours, and it can last up to a week. Symptoms can persist for endless months. The person may never be rid of cravings. That’s why medication-assisted treatment is the one way that some people can actually stop using heroin.
- If you guessed everything, you are almost right. Seizures do not occur during heroin detox—but those withdrawing from alcohol or benzodiazepines (think Xanax) are indeed at risk for seizures.
- Gangrene is not a health risk for heroin addicts. However, if you hear reports of krokodil available in your area, then be afraid—be very afraid. Originally manufactured in Russia to mimic heroin, it contains gasoline and other dangerous products that can indeed cause gangrene.
So how did you score? Only when you research heroin information will you be able to understand the issues that your loved one is facing. The best way you can help him, while you work on your education in this area, is to give him the 866.840.6658 phone number for a methadone clinic and convince him to call.