Need Help Understanding Your Addiction Treatment Options? Call 1-855-506-6675.

Heroin Abuse Signs, Symptoms and Addiction Treatment

Heroin is an opiate drug that is derived from morphine. Morphine is found in the seed pods of Asian opium poppy plants. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin is ingested in several ways, such as through injection, snorting and smoking. Regardless of the method of abuse, heroin addiction often occurs as a result of frequent use.

Heroin Abuse Quiz question 1

Google Trends: Searches for “heroin”

Total number of opiate users

  • Global: 16.37 million (estimated, range 12.8 – 20.23 million) (source)

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse Individuals who abuse heroin may exhibit a number of signs and symptoms. However, not all abusers will react to the drug in the same way. While signs and symptoms of abuse may vary from person to person, most people exhibit certain symptoms and behavior indicative of an abuse problem. Signs of heroin abuse include:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Hyperactivity followed by fatigue
  • Disorientation
  • Irresponsibility at work or school
  • Lying
  • Wearing long shirts and pants even during warm weather
  • Increased sleeping
  • Slurred speech
  • Track marks on arms or legs
  • Weight loss
  • Constant runny nose
  • Scabs or bruises due to picking at the skin

If you or a loved one shows any signs or symptoms of heroin abuse, give us a call at 1-800-943-0566 today. This helpline is staffed with expert advisors who can give advice on treatment options and can even help you find the best treatment center in your area.


Videos on heroin

Heroin Abuse Quiz question 2

Purity levels of heroin

Retail level

Effects of Heroin Abuse Heroin can have a devastating impact on a user’s body and overall life. Immediately after taking heroin, many users feel a “rushing” sensation of the drug entering the brain. Many people seek out heroin due to the quickness at which the drug enters the brain. Certain users of the drug also report the following effects after taking the drug:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heavy extremities
  • Dry mouth
  • Severe itching

Heroin use can cause side effects on a user. While these effects may not be apparent during use, they can become an issue with prolonged use or after recovery from heroin addiction. Many individuals with a heroin problem will experience long-term effects, including:

  • Infection of the heart valves and heart lining
  • Liver disease
  • Abscesses and skin infections
  • Collapsed veins
  • Scarred veins
  • Disease of the kidneys
  • Increased chances of overdosing
  • Increased chance of contracting chronic diseases
  • Increased chance of contracting viruses such as HIV

Heroin Abuse Quiz question 3

Yearly deaths linked to heroin use

United States

Percentage of workforce with positive drug tests for heroin

  • United States: 0.04% (2011) (source)

How many people are chronic heroin users?

United States

Heroin Abuse Quiz question 4 Heroin Abuse Treatment There is a large selection of treatment options available to individuals who want to stop abusing heroin. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, heroin addiction is considered a chronic brain disease. As researchers learn more about how to treat a brain disease such as heroin addiction, more treatment options have become available.

For many heroin abusers, an inpatient treatment program is an ideal option. Inpatient treatment programs are designed to help heroin abusers overcome a physical and psychological addiction to the drug. Inpatient programs often feature a detoxification period. The detoxification period can vary from person to person, depending on the severity of the drug abuse. Inpatient programs are also designed to help heroin abusers understand why they abuse the drug, as well as what they can do to maintain a sober lifestyle.

Outpatient treatment programs for heroin addiction are ideal for abusers who have already successfully completed an inpatient program. Outpatient programs provide abusers with support through a number of programs and meetings. However, unlike an inpatient treatment center, an outpatient center does not provide abusers with a controlled environment.

Many treatment programs for heroin abusers involve the use of methadone. Methadone is used as a medication due to its ability to block the receptors in the brain that constantly require heroin. Methadone is also used to help curb heroin cravings and lessen withdrawal symptoms. Other drugs, such as buprenorphine, are often used to help during the detoxification process. Buprenorphine can also be prescribed at a doctor’s office.

If you feel you or a loved one needs help overcoming a heroin abuse problem, feel free to call our hotline at 1-800-943-0566 for advice on the best treatment center in town.

How many people have used heroin?

United States

Heroin Abuse Quiz question 5

Heroin Statistics The number of individuals using heroin is alarming. While numbers do fluctuate from year to year, it is evident that heroin use continues to be a problem.

As of 2008, approximately 3.8 million people had tried heroin at least once. In 2007, heroin addicts and abusers represented 13.6 percent of admissions to treatment facilities. On average, a heroin addict spends at least $150 a day supporting his or her habit. In 2006, heroin overdoses accounted for 164,000 emergency-room visits.

Average monthly spending on heroin

United States

Annual market size for heroin

Biggest national sources of heroin

  • Afghanistan: Nearly 80% of world supply (2010) (source)

Countries using the most heroin

Amount of heroin seized

Average size of a heroin seizure

United States DEA domestic seizures


Source: DEA (STRIDE)

Typical legal penalties involving heroin

  • Heroin is a Schedule I substance in the United States, and is illegal. (source)
  • Trafficking in 100 to 999 grams of heroin comes with a federal first offense penalty of no less than 5 years in prison, and up to $5 million in fines. A second offense penalty, or a first offense with 1 kilogram or more of heroin, carries a sentence of no less than 10 years in prison.
  • Possession of heroin can come with a federal first offense penalty of one year in prison, and a state penalty of up to 7 years. (source)

Legislation and policymaking involving heroin

  • Kentucky has proposed legislation to charge heroin traffickers with homicide. (source)

What is cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful and short-acting stimulant drug produced from the coca plant. It can produce sensations of energy and euphoria, and is highly addictive with a heavy potential for abuse. It is most commonly snorted, smoked, or injected. Chronic use of cocaine can lead to cardiovascular problems as well as infections and other issues associated with injection drug use. Cocaine is an illicit drug in most countries and is considered to have no medical use. (source)

Other names for cocaine

  • Coke
  • Crack
  • Blow
  • Nose candy
  • Snow
  • White lady (source)
  • Horse (source)

How much heroin is produced every year?


How much opium is cultivated for heroin each year?

  • 2013: 296,720 ha (global) (source)





How much opium is produced every year?


Laos, Myanmar, Thailand

How much opium is produced per hectare?

Heroin Abuse Quiz question 6

Teen Heroin Abuse Adults are not the only ones susceptible to heroin abuse. Many people believe teens do not know how to obtain drugs such as heroin. However, just like alcohol or marijuana, hard drugs and street drugs are not impossible to find. According to the National Criminal Justice Record Service, at least 600,000 individuals in the United States are addicted to heroin. While studies have shown that most heroin users are older, an increasing number of users are aged 18 and younger.

How many youth have used heroin?

United States

Many teens use heroin because of how accessible it is and because they do not understand how harmful the drug can be. For some teens, peer pressure or family problems may play a role in heroin abuse. However, there are treatment options available for teens who are abusing heroin. Inpatient treatment facilities, outpatient programs, group therapy and family therapy are all available options for recovery from heroin abuse. Call us today at 1-800-943-0566 to discuss how to help a Heroin addict.

Need Help Understanding Your Addiction Treatment Options? Call 1-855-506-6675.

Close Heroin Abuse Signs, Symptoms and Addiction Treatment
  • Heroin is connected to which plant?
  • What are symptoms of heroin abuse?
  • What are some immediate consequences of taking heroin?
  • What are some of the long-term results of abusing heroin?
  • How can methadone help in recovering from heroin?
  • How much money does the average heroin addict spend to support the habit?
Next Question
Quiz Summary: Heroin Abuse Signs, Symptoms and Addiction Treatment
The Drug Challenge Badge
Heroin Abuse Signs, Symptoms and Addiction Treatment I scored... 88%
Take The Quiz
  Embed this Score Badge on Your Site or Blog
Close Embed Badge On Your WebsiteCopy Code
Need Help? Call 1-855-506-6675

Sponsored by Leading Treatment CentersAd

About the Hotline