How to Know If a Child Is Using Heroin

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Written By: Lighthouse Editorial Team

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Lighthouse Editorial Team. "How to Know If a Child Is Using Heroin." Lighthouse Recovery Institute., Last updated Oct 2, 2020 at 2:17PM | Published on Jun 8, 2020, https://lighthouserecoveryinstitute.com/how-to-know-if-a-child-is-using-heroin/.

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Last updated Oct 2, 2020 at 2:17PM | Published on Jun 8, 2020 | Get Help For A Loved One

Heroin abuse is often one of the most destructive addictions, inside and outside your home. When your child uses heroin, it can lead to a quick loss of control and a downward spiral. Initially, a heroin addiction may be difficult to identify. As a result, many family members are unclear how to know if a child is using heroin or other substances versus struggling with typical teenage behavioral issues. 

However, over time, signs of addiction can become more evident as the disorder takes over the addict’s life. Recognizing the symptoms of heroin addiction is an essential first step toward supporting your child with receiving appropriate help. To this end, it is vital to understand the signs of heroin use in your child.

How to Know if a Child is Using Heroin: Signs and Symptoms

There are many warning signs of a child using heroin. Like alcoholism, it’s a progressive disease. The difference between alcoholism and adolescent heroin addiction, though, is a quick descent into manageability.

If your child struggles with heroin addiction, you will notice changes in their mood and behavior. There are various physical, behavioral, emotional, and mental signs of substance abuse that may cause concern. The following are some general ways to know if a child is using heroin.

Signs of Heroin Use

Behavioral Signs of Heroin Use

Generally, parents will know that their child might be struggling with heroin abuse when primary responsibilities are interrupted. If you suspect that someone you care about is using heroin, pay attention to their physical characteristics and lifestyle practices, as they may begin to change. Also, changes in work or school performance are indicators of drug use. Not all heroin users will exhibit the same signs and symptoms of use.

Also, once driven towards education, a teenager may now be walking only towards their next fix. Their grades or school performance may change. Additionally, they may exhibit irrational behavior. An increase in anger, mood swings, anxiety, lying, stealing, cheating, and legal issues can result from a child using heroin or other substances.

Changes in Friends and Peers

Generally, heroin users typically hang out with other heroin users. If your child is spending much time with sickly looking people, you may have your answer to “is my child using heroin?”

Once heroin consumes an adolescent’s life, they’ll want to be around people doing the same thing. By doing so, they feel accepted. Heroin addicts typically isolate themselves as well. Random people coming quickly in and out of your house can also be a sign of using, or selling, drugs.

Drug Paraphernalia

You can tell if a child is using heroin by checking their belongings. Generally, parents are unsure if they should search for drugs or drug paraphrenia in their child’s bedrooms or vehicles. The answer boils down to the parent’s level of comfort over the situation. As a parent, are you more comfortable searching for these items out of the concern you have or ignore the situation that is possibly going on in your own home? If parents do decide to be more hypervigilant, here are everyday items that addicts carry. Ordinarily, heroin users have things like: syringes, cotton swabs, lighters, spoons, small baggies, pipes, belts, rubber ties, scales, and foil. Large amounts of money may also be a sign.

Financial Issues

Heroin users quickly burn through their money. Heroin starts as a cheap drug, which quickly turns expensive. A child using heroin may begin to sell costly personal items. They may use their savings. If you notice strange charges on your credit cards or missing checks, your child may be using heroin.

Physical Signs of Heroin Use

Physical Signs of Heroin Use

You will know if your child is using heroin because they’ll start to experience withdrawal after a period of stopping. A user ultimately needs larger doses to reach the same “high” as before. When someone addicted to heroin stops using, then those withdrawal symptoms begin.

Generally, addicts start experiencing withdrawal between 5 and 12 hours after their last use. Additionally, withdrawal from heroin may mirror those of prescription opioids. Because heroin leaves the user’s system faster than painkillers, withdrawal occurs quickly.

Signs of active heroin use include:

  •  Track marks
  • Wearing long-sleeve clothes
  • Pinpoint-size pupils
  • Slurred speech
  • Nodding out

  • Weight loss
  • Scabbed or bruised skin
  • Flushed skin
  • Excessive sleep

Signs of heroin withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Severe itching

  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Constant runny nose

How to Help a Teen Addicted to Heroin

Confronting a child that’s using heroin is very difficult. Contacting a professional interventionist or counselor is an excellent place to start.

An intervention is a structured environment where you can talk to your child about their heroin use. During an intervention, you can set boundaries and give consequences if they don’t seek help.

Talking to treatment centers, in Florida or elsewhere, will give you tips on how to approach a child using heroin. Many children won’t want help. They may think they don’t need it.

Confronting your child using heroin is uncomfortable, but necessary. Sometimes your child wants help but is scared of admitting there’s a problem. Having a conversation will help determine what route you and your child want to take to seek advice.

Heroin Treatment Options for Teens

Heroin Treatment Options For Teens and Young Adults

If your child is using heroin, there’s a good chance they’re unaware of the detrimental impact drug use has on their life. For that matter, they’re probably unaware of the negative impact it has on your life. If your child is already experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you’ll want to seek medical assistance.

Generally, the next step is a drug addiction treatment program. Through drug and alcohol treatment, your child will learn about the disease of addiction and the solution to living a happy and meaningful life. Not to mention, it can prevent heroin overdose.

Regardless of how long your child has been using heroin, getting them professional help is the best thing to do. With the guidance of physicians and addiction therapists, your child can transition into recovery and fight their abuse problems.

At our drug rehabilitation center, you can be a part of your child’s recovery process. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we can help guide you and your family into a brighter tomorrow. You’ll be connected to a caring and expert outreach and admission coordinator who can help start the recovery process.

🛈 This page’s content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek your physician’s advice or another qualified health provider with any medical condition questions—full medical disclaimer.

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