• According to CombatHeroin.NY.gov substance use disorder is a progressive disease. Young people may start with alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, but, all too frequently their use progresses until it is out of control. A key risk factor is the misuse of prescription pain killers.

    Anyone may use drugs, anyone can become addicted and anyone can overdose. It is important that you have information and resources to recognize the warning signs of heroin and opioid abuse.

    Pay attention to significant changes in you or your family member’s physical appearance, attitude or behavior.

    Physical Signs

    Small pupils

    Decreased respiratory rate

    Non responsive state - drowsiness

    Loss or increase in appetite; unexplained weight loss or gain

    Intense flu-like symptoms such as: Nausea, vomiting, sweating, shakes of hands, feet or head, large pupils


    Behavioral Signs

    Change in attitude/personality

    Avoiding contact with family

    Change in friends; new hangouts

    Change in activities, hobbies or sports

    Drop in grades or work performance

    Isolation and secretive behavior

    Moodiness, irritability, nervousness, giddiness


    Wearing long sleeved shirts out of season


    Advanced Warning Signs

    Missing medications

    Burnt or missing spoons/bottle caps


    Small bags with powder residue

    Missing shoe laces/belts


    For suggestions on how to prevent substance abuse or to get help for someone who is abusing alcohol or drugs please visit the following sites:

    Kids Escaping Drugs

    Early Intervention - Face 2 Face