Heroin addiction doesn’t always strike in the form of the drug that we all know and fear. In fact, whether it’s a teenager or even an adult, addiction usually starts with a pain medication that we might get for a wisdom tooth removal or post-surgery. Drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin both are opioid drugs that are commonly prescribed for high levels of pain, and while they are effective as painkillers, it becomes easy to want the drug simply for the kind of euphoric qualities that come with these drugs. That’s when it becomes drug abuse.
How Does Heroin Work?
Heroin works the same way that opioid medications work on the brain. It is because of this that people, especially curious teens, may venture into heroin territory to seek a greater high that their medication wasn’t able to reach for them. It’s all because they’re seeking that euphoric state, it’s no longer about pain medication.
Other ways that heroin can reach a teen’s hands is through attempts to buy pain medication through a dealer. Perhaps, the teen does want more pain medication but doesn’t want to go through the process of seeing a doctor and having to get a prescription for it. If the dealer is disingenuous, they could very well supply the teen with a bag of heroin and claim that it’s simply crushed-up pain pills. The teen likely wouldn’t know the difference until it is too late.
The addiction can kick in right after the first use. This is because of how it interacts with the brain, giving it that state of euphoria. The brain remembers how its cells reacted to the heroin, it remembers the happiness that it gained from it, and it will likely want more in times of great stress or unhappiness. That’s how the craving starts, and the addiction takes place. Soon, the teen may find him/herself wanting more and more.
There are signs and symptoms that you can look out for to help spot a teen that is experimenting with heroin. The teen in question may display symptoms of drowsiness, slow breathing, constricted pupils, and more than likely, display a state of euphoria. Generally, a teen under the influence of heroin will seem like they are slowed down, they don’t think as fast or talk as well either. They may seem like they’re moving and processing through molasses. Teens using heroin may also display symptoms of increased sweating and anxiety—this is because of the withdrawal they experience when they’ve lost their heroin high and haven’t taken it again yet. It is also a terrible driving force behind what makes a teen fall into the cycle of addiction.
There are medications to help with recovering from opioid abuse, but more important is human support. If you have a loved one that is recovering from heroin abuse, they will most certainly need your love and support along with their medical and therapy treatment. Relapse can happen, and it happens a lot when at home. Providing the close support that a former addict needs can help lead to a full recovery, and ultimately, returning to a normal life.