Physical Signs

“I lived in my car, while I was shooting heroin, lost a lot of weight, hid everything in my car, slept a lot….didn’t want to wake up because I didn’t have anything.”
-Local person in recovery, 2014

 General Signs of Use:

  • Constricted or dilated pupils
  • Droopy eye lids
  • Significant weight loss
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Paleness of skin/general look of illness
  • Black circles under eyes
  • Unsteady gait
  • Shaky/Sweaty hands
  • Change in speech (Rapid/excessive talking or minimal verbal engagement)
  • Not sleeping or excessive sleep

Smoking Substances (Marijuana or Synthetics/Prescription Pills/Crack Cocaine/Heroin):

  • Frequent and persistent cough
  • Persistent Bronchitis or other respiratory issues
  • Burn marks on lips, hands, fingers

Snorting Substances (Heroin/Cocaine/Prescription Pills):

  • Frequent sniffles or runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of sense of smell/taste
  • Redness of nose

IV Substance Use (Heroin/Cocaine/Other):

  • Bruises, redness or needle marks on skin (forearms, legs, feet, hands)
  • Strange location of abscesses
  • Burn marks on fingers/hands
  • Excessively rubbing/itching face or other parts of body

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