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.
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
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
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: