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Signs & Symptoms

Physical Signs

Taking just 1 large dose of a prescription opioid could cause serious breathing problems that lead to death.

With regular heroin use, tolerance to the drug develops. Once this happens, the abuser must use more heroin to achieve the same intensity.  As higher doses of the drug are used over time, physical dependence and addiction to the drug develop.

Source: Drug Enforcement Administration, Drugs of Abuse (2015 Edition):  A DEA Resource Guide. View here.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Major withdrawal symptoms peak between 24–48 hours after the last dose of heroin and subside after about a week. However, some people have shown persistent withdrawal signs for many months.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Heroin Research Report Series. View here.

Symptoms of Overdose

Because heroin abusers do not know the actual strength of the drug or its true contents, they are at a high risk of overdose or death. 

Many people die from pain medicine overdoses. In fact, more people overdose from pain medicines every year than from heroin and cocaine combined. 

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse: Effects of Pain Medicine Abuse on Bodies and Brains. View here.