Heroin is one of the most addictive substances in existence. Synthesised from a poppy plant and classified as an opiate, heroin is an illegal but very popular drug in most countries, Australia included. Due to its popularity, it is quite possible that many members of the workforce are into this drug, making it a matter of concern for employers and employees alike.
To help you accurately tell if a colleague is a heroin user or not, here are some useful tips.
Check for track marks
Heroin is usually injected into the bloodstream by the user. This means needle marks will always be left on the body. These needle marks or track marks are usually found on the inside of the elbow, at the wrist, on the back of the hand or behind the knees. Some even go so far as injecting between the toes so the marks wouldn’t be apparent. However, some heroin users hide track marks by wearing long-sleeved clothing all the time, even in very warm weather.
See if they regularly nod off
People who are high on heroin find it difficult to stay focused and coherent. Nodding off is pretty common, and they just drift off even when they’re in the middle of a conversation. They even have trouble remembering events that transpire while under the influence of heroin.
Regular heroin users typically think about getting their next fix and not much else. They distance themselves from friends and family, and show no more interest in family commitments and the activities they used to engage in before heroin came into their lives. In the mind of heroin user, only their own problems—mainly about getting high—matter. Worse, the needs of people around them don’t matter at all.
Heroin is a very dangerous drug that causes a lot of health problems, especially in the long-term. While there may be other factors in play, regular and prolonged heroin use leads to heart disease, damaged lungs, liver problems, and brain damage. Heroin users also tend to have abscesses. When they’re the type who share needles with other heroin users, they are likely to contract infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C as well. If a colleague is a heroin user, these health problems will eventually lead to absenteeism and less work productivity.
Let’s say a colleague who’s a heroin user hasn’t gotten his heroin fix in the past few days for one reason or another. The longer he’s off the drug, the more likely that he’ll be exhibiting withdrawal symptoms. Heroin withdrawal symptoms may vary from person to person, but it usually includes heavy sweating, nausea and vomiting, irritability, and muscle and bone aches.
If you see these symptoms being exhibited by a colleague, waste no time in calling the attention of a supervisor or a manager. If your company has taken drug safety policy development seriously and now has a workplace drug policy in place, managers or supervisors are likely to have had training in properly handling cases of drug abuse in the workplace.