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How to help someone who suffers from an addiction to heroin

If someone you know is struggling with a heroin addiction, you may have no idea what to do. You may feel a combination of sadness, disappointment and helplessness. It can be difficult to know how to help a heroin addict, even if it is a close friend or family member. 

Heroin is a powerfully addictive substance that can have severe health and legal consequences for your loved one. Here are some tips on how to assist someone you care about through this battle. 

Call 911 if there is an overdose risk

If you suspect that someone you know is overdosing on heroin, you must call emergency services immediately. Signs of a heroin overdose include a slower heart rate, slower breathing and a loss of consciousness. Someone who is overdosing on heroin must receive treatment within minutes to reverse the effects. Do not hesitate to call 911 if there is an overdose emergency.

Encourage treatment

Even if the person is not overdosing, using heroin is still a serious issue. Try to approach this individual about the issue in a supportive and nonjudgmental way. If you hold a confrontational intervention, it may not work. Fear and accusations are usually not effective ways to convince someone to get help. Instead, tell this person how much you love and care about him or her. Tell this person how much better life can get with addiction treatment. Focus on the benefits of treatment rather than the negatives of the current situation. 

You can begin looking for treatment centers that can help your loved one recover. There are both inpatient and outpatient programs available. Usually, treatment consists of therapy and medication. 

Get legal help

If someone you love is using heroin, he or she may be in legal jeopardy. The legal repercussions of heroin possession can be astronomical. Make sure your loved one has a legal advocate if something goes wrong.

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