Warning Signs of Heroin Use

What is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid which is made from Morphine. Morphine is a severe pain reliever that is made from the extract of the seeds found in the poppy plant. This opioid drug, Heroin, can come in a white or brown powder or as a black sticky goo. It can be snorted, smoked or dissolved in water and injected. So, what are the warning signs of Heroin use?

Sometimes users are introduced Morphine as a pain reliever which usually comes in a pill or liquid drinkable form. These patients who take Morphine run the risk of developing a tolerance to the drug. This happens when the intended dosage no longer stops the pain or induces a good feeling, leaving the patient feeling and needing more. If patients abuse Morphine once it is no longer needed, the need for reaching that “good feeling” could turn lead them to turn to Heroin.

When the Heroin enters the body it turns back into Morphine and binds to opioid receptors in different areas of the brain that affect things like feelings of pain and pleasure along with parts of the brain that control important processes such as breathing and blood pressure. Many times when users first take the drug they have the urge to sleep due to the fact that the heart rate and breathing slows down. Once users wake up from their “high” they may instantly want to take more to get back to that same happy, calm feeling.

Some street names for Heroin are:

  • Smack
  • Junk
  • H
  • Black Tar
  • Horse

What Are Visible Signs Of Heroin Use?

Heroin induces a feeling of happiness and like things around the user have slowed down. It may be apparent for people around Heroin users to notice that person is moving slowly and their cognitive skills have also slowed down. Another visible sign of Heroin use is “track marks” which are the signs on the body, usually in the arm, of where a needle has been used to inject the drug. You may also notice the visible sign of Heroin use related to the pupils of the user and the fact that they are not normal size, but that instead they have shrunk to the size of a pin. Some warning signs of Heroin use may be related to if the user is trying to stop taking the drug and they are having pain in their muscles, chills, throwing up, unable to sleep and are nervous. These are some visible signs of withdrawal.

Other visible signs of Heroin use can be related to the user feeling itchy and throwing up, especially after just ingesting the drug. Users exhibiting visible signs of Heroin use have more than likely developed a SUD, Substance Use Disorder, causing various issues for the user from health to neglection of work, family and things at home.

Heroin Effects On The Body

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse research has been conducted of users who have abused opioids for long periods of time. This research shows that Heroin users have lost some of their white brain matter which ultimately affects decision-making, behavior control and responses to stressful situations.  Other Heroin effects on the body can be related to collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, constipation and stomach cramping, liver or kidney diseases and lung complications, like pneumonia.

In addition to the effects listed above, Heroin effects on the body can be severe due to the possibility of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis from sharing injection equipment.

Heroin Overdose

A serious and deadly warning sign of Heroin use is if the user overdoses. Overdoses are very common due to the fact that street heroin is usually cut with other dangerous drugs such as fentanyl. When a user overdoses, their breathing slows or even stops decreasing the amount of oxygen reaching the brain. This shortage of oxygen to the brain is called Hypoxia and if not treated immediately, the user could suffer from serious brain damage such as coma, permanent damage or death.






If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.