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Heroin addiction is on the rise due to the opioid crisis

Did you know that heroin has been around since the late 1890s? A pharmaceutical company originally marketed this modified version of morphine as a cough suppressant. By 1932, the federal government and the medical industry realized heroin was highly addictive and outlawed it.

It is still illegal today and classified as a Schedule I controlled substance since it can cause significant harm and even death, plus it does not provide any medicinal value. Research shows that, despite these dangers and the potential for criminal charges, heroin use has risen, at least in part, due to the opioid epidemic.

Understanding the signs of addiction

If you wonder whether a loved one is suffering from an addiction to heroin, you may want to look for the following signs:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Slowed breathing
  • Slowed digestion
  • Constipation
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Blue fingernails and/or lips
  • Marks on the skin from injections, known as track marks
  • Mood changes
  • Lack of coordination
  • Trouble maintaining social relationships
  • Slowed thinking
  • Increased risk-taking
  • Disregard for personal safety
  • Disregard for interpersonal relationships
  • Reduced feeling of obligations at home, school or work

Your loved one may also begin stealing belongings and/or money to purchase more drugs.

How did your loved one become addicted to heroin?

Perhaps your loved one suffered an injury that required an opioid prescription. The fact that these medications are highly addictive may have been the beginning. Once the supply of opioids stopped, he or she may have turned to heroin for the same reaction since it produces similar effects on the brain. After becoming addicted to heroin, the withdrawal symptoms reportedly become unbearable to the user, so they go back to the drug for relief. The above reasoning for individuals turning to heroin is on the rise.

There is a good chance your loved one could end up facing drug and other charges as a result of his or her addiction, but that does not negate the fact that he or she has rights that need protecting. These charges come with serious penalties, including jail or prison time, and fines. It may be possible for him or her to obtain treatment in lieu of incarceration, depending on the circumstances. In any case, consulting with an attorney could help achieve the best possible outcome to any charges.

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