Signs and symptoms of heroin abuse vary from one user to another. This is dependent on one’s genetic composition, the frequency of use, the amount used and the level of addiction.

While it may not be obvious what drug a person is abusing, these signs and symptoms point more to heroin abuse.

  1. Possession of Heroin-Related Paraphernalia

Possession of baggies, burnt spoons, syringes, aluminum foils, rubber bands, glass tubes could be a sign that the person is using heroin. This paraphernalia is for injecting or vaporizing the heroin to obtain a rush.

Regular missing shoelaces could point to the individual using his/her laces to tie off their arms and access a blood vein.

  1. Needle Marks on Arms

Since injection is the most common mode of heroin administration, a heroin addict is likely to have numerous needle marks on their arms.

This sign requires a keen eye to notice since the addict is most likely going to cover up the marks by wearing long-sleeved shirts and jackets.

They may also have sores that do not heal easily or frequent abscesses.

  1. Going on the ‘Nod’

The initial heroin rush is followed by a back and forth state of being wakeful and drowsy. This condition is known as ‘going on the nod.’

The heroin abuser experiences drowsiness, the head droops and they keep on alternating between wakeful and sleepy moments.

Going on the nod can last a few hours.

  1. Excessive Body Fluids

When a heroin addict is going through withdrawal, their body tends to produce more fluids than usual.

Unexplained sweating, tears or runny noses are signs and symptoms of heroin abuse.

  1. Powder Residue

Powder remains on surfaces, in envelopes, or folded in small pieces of paper could indicate heroin abuse. Gently folded powder stashed in the car, shelves, and drawers is usually an attempt by the heroin user to keep their addiction away from family and friends.

How would one distinguish heroin from any other drug?

Heroin in its pure form is a fine white powder. However, it can be black, rose gray or brown depending on the stuff it has been cut with. Black tar heroin is a black sticky substance. The presence of glass tubes, burnt spoons, syringes, and other paraphernalia sets it apart from other drugs.

  1. Change in Social Behavior

A heroin abuser may display signs of depression or erratic mood changes. They may, for example, keep off from family gatherings and social events.

Their social circles may abruptly change. For example, a heroin user will for no good reason start keeping new friends. These friends are likely to display signs of heroin use like track marks on their arms. Their language tends to have a lot of heroin-related street slang. Terms like ‘skin popping,’ ‘speedballing’, and ‘chasing the dragon’ relate to heroin use.

  1. Money Problems

Unexplained expenses, missing money, and other valuables, as well as petty theft, can be a sign of heroin abuse.

The heroin abuser may result in stealing from home or work to maintain their drug supply.

  1. Others
  • Unexplained mood Changes
  • Heavy Feeling on the Arms and Legs
  • Excessive skin picking
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constricted pupils
  • Recurrent respiratory system infections
  • Paranoia
  • Regular confusion
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Restlessness and insomnia


A keen eye will not miss on the signs discussed above.

Help your loved one seek for professional help if they exhibit the symptoms outlined.