Teenage Heroin Use

teenage heroin useTeens are in a demographic that is particularly vulnerable to drug abuse. Not only are illegal substances plentiful around high school and middle school campuses, there’s also a lot of pressure for teens to conform socially.

The teenage years are an experimental time of life when the brain and body are not yet fully developed, and sometimes poor decisions are made during this phase. Teens will often start by drinking alcohol with their friends, which may lead to “soft” drugs like marijuana. Before they know it, however, they may be trying speed, cocaine, and then it may lead to teenage heroin use.

As a concerned friend or loved one, there’s a good chance that the teen you love has been exposed to this dangerous drug in some way. That may just mean that they know people who are using it, but it could also mean that they themselves are addicts. There are many signs of teenage heroin use that will likely be noticeable. If you suspect a teen of using heroin, here’s what to watch for:

Issues at School

A teen who normally gets good grades and attends classes regularly may become unreliable when using heroin. If the teen exhibits a sudden disregard for authority and no longer wishes to participate in school events or their normal activities, observe their behavior carefully. These signs may, of course, be attributable to other sources, but this is one possible cause.

Teenage Heroin Use with Physical Changes

A teen that’s otherwise in general good health may suddenly exhibit a complete lack of energy and stamina. This is one of the most common signs of heroin use in teenager. These physical symptoms of heroin abuse can also include a constantly runny nose, bags under the eyes, extreme weight loss, and a slumped over appearance. At later stages sores may appear on the skin and needle marks may be present.


Teenage Heroin Use with Changes in Attire/Appearance is one of the greatest cornerstones of the teen character is vanity. They want to look good and “fit in” with their friends. Teens who unsuspectedly go out into public disheveled may have lost interest in their appearance. Not a good sign. As signs of heroin use in teenagers go, this is a big red flag.

Teenage Heroin Use with Loner Tendencies

Teens need their privacy, but when this becomes obsessive and friends and family members are no longer allowed into their rooms, take note – he or she may be hiding something (which may or may not be heroin use). A teen who has a thriving social life that suddenly disintegrates may be a teen who has fallen prey to heroin’s insidious seduction.

Teenage Heroin Use with Spending Money

Teen addicts will need money to support their addictions. If money or expensive items are suddenly missing around the house, heroin use or drug addiction could be the motivation.

Also watch for more signs of heroin use in teenagers: paraphernalia such as syringes, rubber tubing (to tie off blood supply to arms), razor blades, straws, rolled dollar bills, and small smoking pipes.

Source: National Institutes of Health

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