Stereotypes come from misunderstanding who uses heroin and reasons behind addiction. The best way to combat stereotypes is to learn more about heroin, why people use the drug and how to offer support if a loved one is struggling with addiction.
China, Mexico and mountains around the Iranian, Pakistani and Afghanistan are rich with Opium poppies (a flower) which grow well in dry, warm climates. Generally, the flower is tended by farmers with small plots of land where the farmer collects sap who brings it to a merchant or broker. The opium is brought to a morphine refinery to create heroin.
Behavior of Heroin Users
Misconceptions exist about who users of heroin are and how people behave while under the influence of the drug. Heroin is a growing problem for people in teens through adulthood. The demographics have changed to reflect that people of all ages and income brackets are using heroin. Behavioral changes occur which are similar for people who use heroin. Some of the signs include:
- Drowsiness: a rush of euphoria follows use of heroin which can last a few minutes followed by a state of drowsiness which can last hours. Sudden drops in energy and increased amount of time sleeping or being drowsy at unusual times can indicate use. Slurred speech, a state of confusion and being dazed along with excessive yawning can also occur.
- Antisocial behavior: a person who is addicted to heroin will do anything to get the drug. Valuables may disappear and financial troubles arise which causes people to borrow money from friends and family. An individual may resort to theft or prostitution to get drugs, but not necessarily.
- Genetics: an individual can user heroin once and not become addicted whereas another person can become quickly hooked on the effects of euphoria. Scientists conducted studies which demonstrate people who experienced heroin addiction tended to have similar gene patterns. While not conclusive, it is evidence heroin addiction may have an inherited component.
Many myths persist about heroin addiction which are not always true and can be dangerous assumptions which keep people from getting necessary help. Some of the stereotypes include:
- Heroin is addictive after one use. The truth is, heroin can be addictive after the first, third, fifth or at any time. A person may use and never become addicted.
- Heroin is costly. Heroin is relatively inexpensive compared to other drugs but can still cause financial crises for people who use frequently.
- A person who uses heroin is weak. In addiction is less about willpower and more about science of how the drug changes a person’s brain and body to crave the drug. It is less a mental process than a biological one which makes it harder to quit.
- Heroin addicts are violent. Most people addicted to heroin are passive and peaceful. Individuals who use heroin can have mental health issues but there is no correlation between that and use of heroin which makes a person more violent.
Hired Power offers resources and services for people with heroin addiction.
If you’re ready for help, call us at 800-910-9299 for information on our programs.