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How to recognise a heroin addiction

Heroin is a dangerous and highly addictive drug that affects people all over the world. Users can inject, sniff, snort or smoke heroin to achieve feelings of euphoria, an initial rush and also produce a feeling of deep relaxation and calm.

Chasing these highs has led many people to become dependent on heroin. Some people are even able to maintain a seemingly normal life while struggling with heroin addiction. To do this, they hide their addiction from friends and loved ones. This requires hiding injection marks, concealing paraphernalia and constructing an intricate network of lies to cover up their drug use.

To someone unfamiliar with heroin it can be very difficult to spot a heroin addiction but there are some tips that can help. Below we have compiled the five most common tricks heroin users employ to conceal their habit.

  1. Hiding injection track marks: Heroin users that take the drug intravenously will have to learn to give themselves injections. This is easiest in the arm but frequent or unskilled injections in a single place leave a very distinct skin irritation called track marks. To hide these marks or prevent them, heroin users will inject between their fingers or toes. They may also frequently switch injection sites to help keep track marks to a minimum.
  2. Covering injection tracks with tattoos: Heroin users may seek to cover up injection marks using a tattoo. By getting a tattoo in a common injection site, heroin users can conceal any track marks under the ink.
  3. Cover up cash problems: Heroin Users often have problems managing their money. A heroin addict can spend £400 or more per week on heroin and paraphernalia. This can leave them in dire financial straights. Most people with a serious addiction to heroin will create a web of lies to hide their money problems. If they are unable to support their habit legally, heroin addicts may turn to theft or other illegal means to get the money they need.
  4. Never use in public: Heroin users will go to great lengths to get a fix but most will avoid using anywhere they could be seen or caught by others. This may sound obvious but it is important to mention because heroin addicts will go to such great lengths to cover up their addiction. They will take great care in hiding used foil or needles and it is very rare for an addict to let even their closest friends or family see evidence of their using.
  5. Irrelevant decisions: To help hide their addiction, heroin users will make up irrelevant errands and tasks to hide their habits. They will always need more gas in the car, more cigarettes, or some other trivial item. This gives them the chance to get more heroin and/or use. The more time someone spends with an addict the more noticeable this habit is.

While this is by no means a complete list, it is a good collection of some of the most common tricks heroin addicts use to hide their addiction. Like many drugs, heroin can drive users to great lengths to satisfy their heroin addiction. It is important to recognise that these people have a problem and to assist them in getting help & support.

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