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Signs of a Heroin Overdose

woman sitting in bed with head in hands considers the signs of heroin overdose

Heroin is an extremely addictive opioid drug that more and more Americans are becoming addicted to every year. Part of why heroin use is so dangerous is that a user develops a tolerance over time and needs more of the drug to feel its effects. When a tolerance builds, many turn to intravenous heroin use. Intravenous heroin use puts the individual at extremely high risk for overdose. It is important to understand the signs of a heroin overdose so that intervention can take place as quickly as possible. If you or a loved one is interested in a heroin addiction treatment program, Skywood Outpatient has the resources needed to help you find recovery. For more information, call us at 248.617.6237 or connect with us online.

Signs of a Heroin Overdose

Opioids like heroin cause thousands of overdose deaths per year in the U.S. The most common signs to look for if you think someone you know might be experiencing a heroin overdose are:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Pale skin
  • Blue lips or fingertips

Heroin is a depressant that is derived from morphine, a powerful pain-relieving medicine. Heroin is toxic and, unfortunately, is often mixed with other substances that are toxic. In recent years, increases in the inclusion of synthetic drugs like fentanyl in heroin have led to many overdose victims. Most overdoses come from the systems of the body being overloaded by the depressing effects of heroin, making it impossible for the lungs to expand enough to breathe. If a person using heroin is unresponsive—unable to be awoken when shouted at or shaken—it is reasonable to assume that they are experiencing an overdose.

What to Do If You Recognize the Signs of Heroin Overdose

If someone near you is overdosing on heroin, you must seek medical attention immediately. Knowing certain things about the user, like their age and weight, can be helpful for emergency personnel. It is also useful if you know how much heroin the person used and when they last used it. When someone falls asleep standing up or in mid-sentence sitting down, you may be witnessing an overdose. Immediately contacting emergency services or poison control (a free and confidential hotline) is the first step to take.

At-Home Help for Heroin Overdoses

The medication naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, has become widespread in the use of preventing death from overdose. If a person is overdosing on heroin, this drug can be injected under the skin or into the muscle using an automatic injector. Narcan can reverse the effects of the opioid in the person’s brain and help to restore breathing. Many families learn how to administer Narcan if they have a loved one with a heroin addiction. It can be kept on hand to help save a life before medical personnel arrive.

Heroin Addiction Treatment Programs

Heroin is a dangerous and addictive drug, but there is hope. Many resources are available for people who seek help for their addiction and want to heal. Rehab facilities offer detox, inpatient, outpatient, and residential treatment options. There are certain medications approved for the treatment of heroin addiction, including methadone and buprenorphine. Support groups can provide lasting connections and assistance, and many counselors specialize in the treatment of addiction. It is difficult to watch someone you love struggle with addiction, but there are many people who are trained and willing to help.

Seeking a Heroin Addiction Treatment Program? Skywood Outpatient Is Here to Help

Heroin addiction can be a scary and painful thing. It can be a lonely thing to suffer from and can be traumatic for loved ones as well. If someone you love is battling a heroin addiction, becoming informed about overdose is one way you can arm yourself with the facts you need to be as prepared as you can be to help. If you want more information about how to be educated about heroin addiction and heroin overdose, contact us at 248.617.6237 or via our online form today.