Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse


Heroin is a highly 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.


Opioids are medications that act on the nervous system to relieve pain. Examples are hydrocodone, Vicodin, Percocet, Codeine, and Oxycontin. 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 Heroin or 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

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