You Might Be a Heroin User If…

Black Tar Heroin

You might be a heroin user if…

  • Your pupils are pinned and you are constantly itching and scratching
  • You are always sick with flu-like symptoms (a heroin withdrawal symptom)
  • You are nodding off or falling asleep at inappropriate times.

Heroin use in Louisiana and across the United States has increased dramatically, with detectives in East Baton Rouge Parish seizing thirty times the amount of heroin in 2013 as seized in 2012. Again, both locally and in the United States, the crackdown on prescription opioids has driven an ever-increasing number of addicts to heroin over the past several years.

With heroin use rising across the U.S., The Associated Press queried state health departments, medical examiner’s offices and law enforcement agencies across the nation for statistics related to use, overdoses and treatment to obtain a ore detailed picture of the problem on the ground. Read more…

While in Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law Friday, May 30, 2014, a bill that sets the maximum penalty for repeat offenses of heroin distribution at 99 years. The new law also increases the mandatory minimum amount of time to 10 years, up from five. This is for those convicted even once for dealing heroin.

The legislation proposed this session was in response to the startling increases in deadly heroin overdoses and use of the opiate in Louisiana. While the enforcement of the new laws would ideally mean less heroin on the street, it does not provide a solution to the thousands of heroin addicts who suffer every day in Louisiana and across the United States.

If you know someone who has several of the following symptoms or characteristics, they likely need help for heroin addiction:

  • Bruises in the crook of their arms or anywhere on the arms
  • Hands swelling or abscesses on arms and hands
  • Track marks
  • No appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Leg spasms
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea (when withdrawing)
  • Sunken eyes

Or if you see any of the following, you may be dealing with a heroin addict:

  • Tiny Ziploc bags (1/2″ x 1/2″) with powdered or tar-like residue inside
  • Small pieces of balled up foil lying around
  • Missing spoons or spoons with black spots on the back of them, or bent spoons
  • Orange caps (from a syringe) lying around
  • Cigarettes with part of the butt missing
  • Dollar bills rolled up like a straw
  • Burn holes in pants (from back of spoon)
  • Pawn tickets lying around
  • Family missing checks or credit cards
  • AC in the house set very low
  • No coin change lying around when there used to be
  • Prescription bottles of antibiotics with a different person’s name (usually taken to prevent infections from needle-use abscesses)

Seek help. Because he or she may not—until it is too late.

And while another bill sponsored by Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge (which is awaiting the governor’s signature) would provide legal immunity under certain circumstances to witnesses of a drug overdose who call for help, this is far too late to help your loved one.