Heroin addiction is an addiction that affects everyone. The user has their lives turned inside out, and functioning without this drug is difficult or seems to be impossible. Friends and family members are also affected by heroin abuse in many different ways as well. Loved ones may feel anger, hurt, betrayed, taken advantage of, resentment, and fear at the same time. With heroin addiction there is always the very real possibility that the user can overdose before the heroin abuse is treated successfully, and an overdose frequently leads to death because of a delay in treatment due to the distance from medical facilities and first responder help. Sometimes the user is not found until it is too late, and the individual as died before this point. The friend or family member who finds the overdose victim will never be able to forget that experience.
When heroin abuse and heroin addiction sets in then those who care about the user start to lose trust. Someone who abuses heroin will often lie or steal from those who are closest to them. Friends and family members want to help, but they may also experience a sense of shame or embarrassment as well. One woman who talked about her son’s heroin addiction said that the man had been clean for 6 years but she still locked up her purse and jewelry because she could never gain complete trust that he would not relapse. Anyone exposed to heroin abuse, even as the friend or loved one of the addict, should seek counseling and support.