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Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse

What Is Addiction?

A chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite serious adverse consequences and by long lasting changes to the brain.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is a very addictive drug and it is an increasingly serious problem.
Heroin is processed from Morphine, which comes from the Asian poppy plant.
Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder. Street names include “Smack”. “H”, and “Junk”.

Recent studies suggest a shift from injecting heroin to snorting or smoking because of the increased purity of the drug and the myth that these ingestion methods are safer.

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Signs of Heroin/Opioid Abuse

  • Constricted or pin point pupils
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Nodding out
  • Itching and Scratching
  • Unhealthy appearance
  • Track marks
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Depression
  • Problems at work and in school

What are Opioids?

Opioids are medications that relieve pain including hydrocodone,(e.g. Vicodin and Percocet), Codeine, Oxycontin and related drugs. Prescription opioids when abused can cause overdose and death. Regular or long term use of opioids can lead to physical dependence and in some cases, addiction.

Prescription opioid addiction can also lead to Heroin addiction which is cheaper and easier to obtain then prescription medication.

Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

For most people, the initial decision to take prescription drugs is voluntary. Over a period of time, however, changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse affect a person's self control and ability to make sound decisions. While this is going on, the person continues to experience intense impulses to take more drugs.
Other signs are:

  • Stealing, forging or selling prescriptions
  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Excessive moods swings or hostility
  • Increase or decrease in sleep
  • Mood swings
  • Poor decision making
  • Seeking prescriptions from more then one doctor

Which Prescription Drugs Are Commonly Abused?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the three classes of prescription drugs that are often abused include:

  • Opioids used to treat pain
  • Central nervous system (CNS) depressants, such as benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Klonopin), used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders
  • Stimulants, such as Adderall or Ritalin, used to treat attention deficit disorder

Where to go for help for a Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse problem?

Contact the Drug and Alcohol Resource Center at (203) 392-5087.

Additional Websites for Information about Heroin and Prescription Drug abuse:

Support Groups

Support groups for family members of a loved one with an addiction

If you are in the presence of someone who needs immediate medical attention for a drug or alcohol overdose please call 911.

Programs offering treatment for Opiate Dependency

APT Foundation, Inc
1 Long Wharf Drive
New Haven, CT
203-781-4357

New Era Rehabilitation Center, Inc
311 East Street
203 562 2101

APT Methadone Maintenance
495 Congress Ave
New Haven, Ct
203-781-4740

SCSU Good Samaritan Amnesty Policy

The Good Samaritan Medical Amnesty Statement is in place to prevent fear about calling for help in the case of a drug or alcohol overdose.

Call 911 immediately if someone is in need of medical attention.

Learn more about the Amnesty policy or contact The Drug and Alcohol Resource Center at (203) 392 5074.