My Friend is Addicted to Heroin: What Do I Do?

Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t see the signs that Henry, my best friend, was addicted to heroin. Looking back now, it could have been because we were in college. Although the wildness of freshman year had passed us by, Henry was still going strong with the weekend benders so much that I didn’t notice that something had changed. 

In the months to come, he would go through almost all the heroin addiction symptoms until the night I found him lying on the floor OD’d on heroin. 

I still feel a lot of guilt that it took Henry overdosing to open my eyes to the truth that had been staring me in the face for far too long. Like most friends to heroin addicts, I did two things I wish I could go back and change. First, I gave excuses for Henry’s behaviors. “He is only stressed about lectures… he just liked to party… he isn’t addicted… he just used occasionally.” 

Second, I accepted his excuses, especially when I knew that they didn’t add up. I guess a big part of me didn’t want to believe that Henry was a heroin addict. 

To a lot of people in the world, this example of a story sounds very similar. At Enlight Treatment Center, we want to let you know if you are a concerned friend, and want to know how to help someone addicted to heroin, keep reading to know the signs and symptoms to look out for. 

What Is Heroin?

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, heroin is a type of opioid drug derived from morphine. On the streets, heroin is called smack, big H, hell dust, and horse. 

There are two forms of heroin on the streets: pure heroin and black tar. The former comes in a white powdery form while the latter is black and sticky. Also, the color and consistency of the black heroine (black tar) come from impurities resulting from refining morphine to heroin. 

How Is Heroin Used? 

There are three main ways someone on heroin uses the drug:

  • Smoking 
  • Diluting the powder with water and shooting it directly into their veins with a syringe.
  • Snorting the powder through their nose. 

It’s common for someone on heroin to prefer intravenous drug use because of the shorter reaction time. 

How Can You Tell If Someone Is Using Heroin?

Friends and family of addicts often ask themselves why they didn’t notice the signs of addiction before it got too late. It’s easy to feel guilty about this, and to think things could have been different if you only knew, but please know it’s not your fault, and you are not to blame. If you suspect your friend or someone you know is addicted to heroin, here are some signs to look out for: 

  • Shifty behavior which often includes lying about their whereabouts and the people they hang out with. 
  • Changes in mood. You may notice depression, irritability, aggressiveness, withdrawal from other people. 
  • Track marks, also known as needle marks from where they have been injecting the drugs.
  • Stealing and money problems. Addicts usually need money to support their addiction. This could also include excessive borrowing. 
  • Syringes and other drug paraphernalia in their rooms or personal spaces. 

How to Help Someone Addicted to Heroin

The best thing to do for a friend who is addicted to heroin is to get them or encourage them to seek professional help. If you think they will be reluctant to look for help themselves, you can start the process of seeking treatment on their behalf. 

At Enlight Treatment Center, we can help your friend overcome this horrible addiction. We offer detoxification services, inpatient rehab treatment, and dual-diagnosis services for addiction. Please reach out to us today for more information regarding our program! Recovery awaits you or your friend. 


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Our admissions team is available 24/7 for those in need of treatment. Even if we are not a match for you or your loved one, we are here to help. It is a cornerstone practice of  Enlight Treatment Center to serve as a bridge between the community and treatment.