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Heroin abuser or addict?
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Heroin abuser or addict?

My daughter used heroin maybe 5-10 times in the summer and maybe twice in the fall and twice this winter.  She had withdrawal symptoms after the summer but not so much anymore.  She has used small amounts of pot a few times a week for 2 years perhaps.  Recently she was arrested.  She says she has quit drugs and is in outpatient relapse treatment now.  She has individual counseling once a week, group therapy twice a week, a psychiatrist visit once about every 2 months, goes to several AA meetings weekly, and will likely have probation with drug testing.  She has been through this routine for alcohol and pot.  It helped with the alcohol but not so much with the pot.  In the past, we have thrown her out of the house just based on that drug use.  The heroin really scares me.  Is it possible that she is an abuser who can quit as she says or is she a heroin addict?   Right now she is in college keeping her grades up and holding down a part time job as well as doing her treatment.  Is she a candidate for medications like naltrexone or does she need to be sicker?  
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24 Comments Post a Comment
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228936_tn?1249097848
Certain people who have addictive personalities can get addicted to a drug like heroin very quickly. Since you said she had an alcohol problem it makes that possiblity more likely. Heroin is the strongest of all opiates. Most people here are addict to vicodin and  don't know how addictive and strong it is. Pot is rarely a good idea and especially for an addictive person. Naltrexone is used for a prevenitive agent, to cut cravings but more as a deterent. If you take any opiate on it, it won't work. If you take naltrexone and have an opiate habit you will get very ill. I definatly would suggest  suboxone or methadone as they are supposed to be treatments of last resort or "harm reduction therapy" All the best
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222369_tn?1274478235
Herion isn't even close to being the "strongest" of all opiates. In fact, in the world of opiates, heroin is only about 2-5 times more potent than morphine. In comparison, Fentanyl is 100 times the potency of morphine. Sufentanil, used in OR settings, is 1000 times as potent as morphine. I'm not downplaying heroin's dangers, just pointing out facts.
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199177_tn?1332183097
Whether its the strongest or not really does not matter it is VERY addicting. I don't know very many "Casual heroin addicts" Normal its very hard for heroin addicts to quit.I would be absolutely very concerned and worried if she is using heroin at all.
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228936_tn?1249097848
Yes  fentalyl is stronger but not more euphoric. It's dope's Euphoria that makes it so addictive not because because a synthetic opiate can knock you out by using a fraction of a mg. I've used all opiates and none were as sartsfying as heroin. That being said, I think it can get someone addicted faster, in some cases a day or 2 for dope (heroin).
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198154_tn?1337790865
theres not such thing as a Heroin abuser.  In order for something to be abused there also has to be a correct way to use it.   I'm sorry she is a heroin addict.  I'm not judging her..its just fact.
Also, its rare for people to occasionally use heroin

Shes in for a fight...good luck to you both
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Avatar_n_tn
I am certain she does not use heroin daily.  Is it really impossible to be an occasional user?  If she is an occasional user as she has said, is medication appropriate?  Is it possible for her current course of treatment to help?  
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199177_tn?1332183097
Honeslty I have never met an occasional heroin user. It will help if she is honest with self  and others and WANTS help that's going to be the biggest factor .
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I agree with Avisg. Have you ever watched the tv show "Intervention" on A&E? I am sure some started out as quote un quote "casual" users. Once those receptors get a taste for this drug (so I hear, never did this drug), most say their life is changed forever. What makes your daughter any different?? Just be vigilant and monitor everything if she lives with you. She is your baby after all and it is hard to believe that your child could be a heroin addict. I do believe she is. It hits all types of families. You did not make her do this. She made a choice. I am proud that you are inquiring here. As addicts, we know all the ropes, lies etc that we tell and did to hide our dirty secret. My biggest lie was to my family that I was not abusing the prescribed oxycontins I was taking . I was ashamed. I admitted to buying "a few" to my sibling. A few in reality was almost $80,000 worth over a 8 yr period. I am college educated, a model citizen (pay taxes and such), who would think right? LJ, your daughter is hiding this from you. Be on the lookout and always come and ask questions. We embrace parents like you.


Prodigal Girl
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Thanks all.  She told me yesterday that she would not want to take Naltrexone but thought she would take Suboxone because she said the Naltrexone has serious side effects.  I have just read a little bit about each med but they each have pitfalls.  Is there some addict-type reasoning why she'd want the Suboxone over the Naltrexone?  What kind of doc would she need to see?  
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228936_tn?1249097848
Suboxone is for addicts who can't get through withdrawels. It is a narcotic and is addictive and puts addicts in a 'holding pattern" similar to methadone and is very expensive. Naltrexone is a anit narcotic and is not addictive and is for addicts who are not using or in withdrawel. Sub is hard to get off off like methadone and is referred to as "harm reduction therapy" and should be used for more desperate cases as methadone is used
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406584_tn?1399591666
As a ex junkie while in active use I would definitely not want the Naltrexone as you would get violently ill ingesting any opiate.. With the sub you can cheat if your heart is not into staying clean.. Ultimately it will be up to your daughter if she uses or not.. I had to move drop friends even broke up with long time bf to escape.. Many changes..  I have see heroin users use occasionally in the beginning but they always came back and once the b!tch digs her claws in you are hooked. Many graduate to shooting.. So instead of a substitute I would recommend to your daughter.. That she makes the changes she needs to stay clean..
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631136_tn?1231425917
I am a heroin addict, and I can tell you first hand that heroin is not a drug you do once a week. That's always your intentions. For instance, she most likely got sick last summer and said, "I'll NEVER do that again." Then came the fall, and she thought to herself, "just one time wont hurt". That's where this evil drug gets you. I have battled with it, and had some time clean as well. It continues to pop up in my life though. It's good that she's doing outpatient therapy, and attending meetings. That will help her. In the beginning of heroin addiction is easy to keep up grades, go to work, fool the world. Before you know it everything is falling apart, and you are gonna quit everyday... until that day comes. Sounds to me like she's really playing with fire. I started off much like she was... a little here, a little there... You'll find yourself quickly doing too much, and having to use to be "normal". I also have known a lot of heroin addicts. I can't tell you one, that just stops and then months later does it a couple of times. It doesn't work like that. Most likely she's involved with people who are already addicts. Unfortunately if she is struggling thru addiction (as I suppose she is), SHE has to want the help. You can't want it for her.
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228936_tn?1249097848
I can't stress enough that suboxone is a treatment for longer term hard core addicts and methadone as well and more so. These are harm redution treatments unless they are being used for detox, in that case, the shorter they are on these drugs, the better.
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Avatar_n_tn
Would low dose naltrexalone be useful in her case?  
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199177_tn?1332183097
I would look into the naltrexalone ir would be a better chioce then other options 10356 is right with sub its easier to cheat with the low dose if she uses she will get sick I have a feeling she knows this .
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738782_tn?1234130005
Its dangerous to mess with naletrexone when u are an addict,you shuld be off atleast 14 days of any drugs to start any dose of naletrexone.A person who is on narcotics if given naletrexone in high or low doses will expereince severe withdrawl (withdrawal) symptomes and can be life threatning too.Iam telling you from experience as i did the mistake of taking a very small fraction of the recommended dose to reduce my high as i had work and ended up almost killing myself with withdrawls ,my blood pressure shot up and i had tachycardia.
                           Never ever give an user naletrexone unless its given by a doctor to save life.Your daughter needs ur help and she has to make up her mind to leave heroine,there is no other go.
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271792_tn?1334983257
Hi Mom,

First off, Welcome To The Community!

I commend you for reaching out to help your daughter. My heart goes out to you. I can only imagine what you are felling right now. Hurt, anger and guilt are all normal in your situation and you have come to the right place to share those feelings. This community is filled with knowledgeable and caring members who reach out every day to help others.

I am a drug addict in recovery and my drug of choice is heroin. I am hoping I can share my experience and help you in some way.

You mentioned that she used heroin 5-10 times last summer and 2 times during the fall and winter. She then suffered withdrawal symptoms. To be perfectly blunt, I have a hard time believing that. It would take much more than that to suffer significant w/d symptoms. As drug addicts we have perfected the art of lying, to others and to ourselves. Please don’t be offended. I am not calling your daughter a liar. I just want you to understand how it works.

Getting arrested was probably the best thing to happen to her. Hopefully a condition of her probation will be to drug test regularly. That will at least deter her.

It took me being arrested 4 times and going into rehab 3 times in the course of a year to stop me. It saved my life. Funny thing is when I entered what I hope was my last rehab, I still denied that I had a problem. Even after leaving that rehab I still thought maybe I wasn’t that bad but I was ordered to meetings also and it took another three months of sitting at a meeting every day to break down and realize I had a problem. It was 6 months before I could say “my name is Bonnie and I am a drug addict” and really mean it. All I was doing was going through the motions until that moment and that’s ok. At least I was going every day. But, once I admitted that I had a problem I was able to start my recovery.

From what you have said, it does not sound like your daughter has come to terms with her addiction yet. If she is still smoking pot, then she is not there yet. You also mentioned that she was through this before for alcohol. Basically, it is trading one drug for another. For me, a drug is a drug. I don’t care if you snort it, shoot it, drink it or use it as a suppository. Anything that is mind or mood altering and takes me away from myself is a drug for me.

I am 20 years clean from heroin but I relapsed some 15 years ago with pain medication prescribed for an accident. Although pills are not my drug of choice, it wasn’t long before I found myself believing that the prescription label read “snort every 4 hours if needed for pain”. I was right back to where I was the first go round.

35 years of my life were spent doing drugs and after all the times I told myself I didn’t have a problem, and that I can use every now and again, or maybe just on weekends, or I can just smoke pot, or have a a glass of wine with dinner and so on and so on…I now know I can’t do any of those things.

I found that my way doesn’t work. It has taken the help of other recovering addicts and therapy for me to begin my recovery. I need to trust someone else to guide me and I need to get to the core of the problem. “Normal” (whatever that is) people don’t wake up in the morning and decide to stick a needle in their arm or stick a straw up their nose. There is something wrong with my thinking.

Not to beat a dead horse but meetings and counseling got me here today, 16 months clean. I am working on the core of the issue meaning finding the reason why I used drugs. I needed to find why I couldn’t deal with life and why I need to self-medicate and not deal with my feelings.

It sounds that your daughter is doing all the right things to get on track and hopefully she will get to the point where she has that realization. Hopefully she will participate instead of just doing it because she is court ordered. She is a drug addict, with or without drugs and will always be. She will need to learn to live her life and deal with whatever comes her way without the use of drugs.

The only other thing I can suggest is that she change friends. If she is smoking pot then she is hanging around with people who do that also. I don’t normally subscribe to the “gateway theory” with pot, but in your daughter’s case, it is inevitable that she will look for something stronger or better.

Your daughter sounds like a lovely girl and she has so much going for her. Her whole life is ahead of her and I pray she will make the choice to live it clean and sober. ONLY she can make that decision. No judge, jail, not even you can choose for her. She has to want it.

You are in my thoughts and prayers. Please keep posting and listen to the members here.

P.S. I just realized you asked about naltrexone. I do not have any personal experience with it but I see some other members do.

P.S.S. I really hope you come back and read what everyone has written to you.
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228936_tn?1249097848
There is a sub doc here who supposidly is in charge of this board and the pain mgt. board who knows everything about sub and naltrexone. I don't think he posts but maybe oversees or whatever. Nalretxone is given for overdoses and sometimes is used for relapse prevention. Yes, I was once given it for that and it works. In La. a once famous addiction doc gave me some when I got out of a long methadone detox. I took it daily and about 4 days later I shot some black tar and nothing happened. A few months later when I had gotten hooked again and had started on methadone again, I was too high to drive and I was a shuttle bus driver at LAX. I figured a fraction of a naltrexon pill would help but it made me so sick I had to call in sick. It's a tricky drug

  Now I have spent many years on and off methadone, heroin and a variety of narcotics and am now clean for over 5 years. I know that the subdoc I referred to thinks of suboxone as much different than methadone because it it's a partial opiate blocker but it's still very addictive and hard to get off of. These drugs can be a usefull first step in early recovery or a better life as in "harm reduction" or to keep you in a withdrawel free holding pattern but these treatments are not to be taken lightly (methadone &sub), and should be reserved for the harder core addicts because they could become a life time habit. I hope you daugther makes the right decision .
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Avatar_n_tn
We hope she will make the right decisions too.  
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Avatar_f_tn
For every one time u know she used Heroin, there are probably about 8 times you don't know about (per that one u do)...............so, chances are she is using or was using lots more than what u know about.  

Traycee had a great point above.....it isnt like there is an "appropriate dose"  of heroin that can be abused. But, seeing as though she already has used it and is probably addicted to it, all you can do NOW is move foward.

Heroin is very very very very addictive. If she has been in rehab for alcohol and pot (pot addiction is all mental tho) then id bet anything she is addicted, fully, to Heroin. Maybe she isnt telling u that. Maybe she feels guilty and bad about it. Ashamed. -- Afterall, you are her parents. No child wants to let their parents down.

That is great that she is in school and doing well at it.  I really hope she gets the help she needs.  Sounds like you are a very caring parent and she can get clean with your continued help.

Keep us posted.
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Avatar_f_tn
Occassion Heroin User............

translation.....

The addict is broke at that moment......therefore, not using at that moment.



*In most cases*
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Avatar_m_tn
iv been a heroin addict for 13yrs and believe me there is no such thing as an occasional heroin user im afraid your daughter knows a lot more than shes letting on but thats the drug it turns you into a liar and anything else you have to do to get it. I cant understand why she would need those if she wasnt using they are more for us hard core people i think.You would just be giving her another addiction. I know women who sell their bodies to dealers for a bag. Believe me its a horrible horrible life. I thought i could take it like that nut once that devil has you in her sights its one bad road downhill. Yes she could manage at first without you knowing you become an expert at it you believe your own lies. Im withdrawing now off heroin and its hell on earth. I truly hope im wrong but i dont think so. Try a threat your gonna drug test her or something and watch her reaction and youll see. Ill be thinking of you and praying im wrong i wouldnt wish this life on my worst enemy. Best of luck and let us know how you get on
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738782_tn?1234130005
What u wrote was very inspiring and informative.
                                                  thank u.
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Avatar_f_tn
I say female because I need to know how heroin affects your reproduction system -periods etc.Does it affect your sleep patterns etc.Please give as much info as poss.I am the mum of a 31yr old daughter who hasd insisted for years that she only casually uses??After readin the above I am now scared as she has 2 kiddies to look after and is on her own.Her whole life is chaos,confusion and contradiction mixed with mood swings and lethargy.Thanks for any help.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been on suboxone for 4 years. I have tried to quit several times, but have always gone back. Ok first Suboxone has Naltexone in it. There is one obvious reason why she would take suboxone but not naltrexone. Suboxone makes you high. I know alot about drug use and being on suboxone. If anyone has any questions you can email me ***@**** . Just know suboxone can help a person if they absolutely can not stop using. And I agree no one is an occasional heroin user. Look for disappearing bent or burnt spoons. Ripped cig filters, cotton balls, track marks, severe mood swings, sleeping a lot or not sleeping at all, dilated pupils, scratching,  anymore questions email me.
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333612_tn?1302886990
Welcome,
This post is over a year old. Most these people aren't here anymore. Go to 'post a question' at the top of the page and hit it to start your own, newer post. You will get lots of help that way....


Stay strong,
Greatgreebo

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