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How to Know if Someone Is Smoking Heroin or Amphetamines?

heroin v meth use

Heroin and amphetamines are two of the most commonly abused substances in the world, with thousands of people turning to them for a quick, intense high. Unfortunately, these substances can quickly become addictive, leading to serious health and social problems. But how do you know if someone is using either of them? In this article, we’ll explore the common signs and symptoms of heroin and amphetamine use. We’ll discuss the physical, mental, and emotional signs of both substances, as well as some of the possible withdrawal symptoms users, may experience if they stop using. We’ll also touch on how to get help if you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to one of these powerful drugs.

How to Know if Someone is Smoking Heroin or Amphetamines

If you suspect that a loved one or someone you know is using drugs, it’s important to be able to identify whether they are using heroin or amphetamines. To properly assess drug use behavior, it’s important to understand the difference between these two drugs so you can take the necessary action to get them to help.

Differentiating Between Heroin and Amphetamines 

Definition of Heroin 

Heroin is an illegal opioid drug made from morphine extracted from the seed pod of several varieties of the opium poppy plant. It is the most well-known and widely used illegal opioid in the world today and has a high potential for addiction and abuse. It is commonly injected, snorted, or smoked.

Definition of Amphetamines

Amphetamines are a group of artificially manufactured stimulants that increase energy levels and alertness while decreasing fatigue and appetite. They are commonly abused because they create a euphoric feeling when taken in high doses. They can be eaten, snorted, injected, or inhaled as smoke or vapor.

Physiological Effects of Both

The effects of both heroin and amphetamines will vary depending on the individual, their metabolism, dose amounts, route of delivery, duration of use, etc. Generally speaking, heroin will cause drowsiness and relaxation while amphetamines will produce increased energy and alertness. Another key difference between these two drugs is that heroin will cause users to become physically dependent on it quicker than amphetamines will.

Behavioral Differences in People Taking Heroin or Amphetamines

Changes in Appetite

Heroin will drastically reduce a user’s appetite, as it creates a strong feeling of nausea that can lead to vomiting and/or dehydration. On the other hand, amphetamine use could cause an increase in appetite due to its stimulating effects.

Changes in Mood

People who are smoking heroin may experience alternating periods of happiness and apathy as well as rapid mood swings due to its depressant effects on the central nervous system. Amphetamine users may appear overly talkative and energetic due to the uplifting properties of the drug.

Changes in Sleep Patterns

It is common for heroin users to become lethargic which will result in long periods of sleep interrupted only by short periods of wakefulness throughout each day. On the other hand, amphetamine users may experience insomnia and restlessness due to its stimulating effects on cognitive functions.

Physical Signs of Taking Heroin or Amphetamines

Sclerotic Blood Vessels Long-term chronic heroin users frequently develop sclerotic blood vessels or tracks around their injection sites which are caused by scar tissue buildup due to regular injections beneath the skin’s surface over time. Similarly, amphetamine users can also develop tracks around their injection sites due to frequent injections beneath their skin’s surface over time as well as irritation from various additives typically included with many forms of amphetamine products on the street today such as caffeine and guarana powder.

Skin Changes

Those using either drug may experience skin changes such as:

  • Scabs caused by scratching as a result of frequent itching
  • Scarring from picking at scabs
  • Lesions ranging from small sores that do not heal quickly to large abscesses caused by bacterial infections at injection sites
  • Acne is caused by increasing oils breaking out on their skin
  • Dry mouth leading to chapped lips
  • Discoloration under their eyes
  • Thinning hair

Paraphernalia Associated with Taking Heroin or Amphetamines 

Types of Delivery Systems

  • Inhalers/Straws
  • Syringes/Needles
  • Spoons (small metal bowls used for burning heroin)
  • Pipes (metal tubes typically used for smoking amphetamine products such as crystal meth)     

Common Additives

  • Various types of sugar
  • Caffeine powder
  • Guaifenesin (an expectorant often present in cough medicines)
  • Lemon juice/citric acid (used for injecting heroin)    

Common Containers

  • Gelatin Capsules (often containing amphetamine products such as crystal meth)
  • Small plastic baggies (commonly seen with smaller amounts of powdery substances such as cocaine or including freebasing agents such as baking soda used before smoking crystal meth)
  • Rubber balloons (used for holding methamphetamines before being inhaled via a straw)

Warning Signs of Simultaneous Use of Heroin and Amphetamines

Increased Risk Of Overdose

The combination of these two drugs is extremely dangerous because they have opposite yet complementary effects on the body and nervous system which can easily lead to an overdose if taken together in high doses particularly if administered intravenously or inhaled. Complication With Addiction Treatment Simultaneous use also creates additional complexity when trying to treat someone’s addiction in terms of knowing which drug they’re primarily dependent upon and adjusting treatment accordingly which could make a successful recovery less likely depending on how long they have been using both drugs simultaneously.

Possible Development Of New Addiction

Lastly, there is some concern about simultaneous use leading to new addictions because this type of behavior can create stronger connections between feelings and associated behaviors, thus making it more likely for someone who abuses multiple drugs at once to later become addicted solely independent from any initial addiction before beginning combined usage.

Understanding the different physical, mental, and emotional effects these drugs can have on an individual, as well as being aware of the possible paraphernalia associated with their use, can help better identify if someone is using either of them. It’s also important to note the warning signs of simultaneous use of both drugs as this can greatly increase the risk of overdose and other potentially dangerous side effects.  If you or someone you know is suffering from heroin or amphetamine addiction, there is help available. Reach out to a trusted family member, friend, or medical professional to discuss treatment options and get the support you need. With the right help, it is possible to break free from the chains of addiction and lead a healthier, happier life.

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