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Physical Effects of Teen Heroin Addiction

Heroin is an opioid that destroys devastates communities across the United States. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, almost two percent of adolescents 12 and older have experimented with heroin. When teens use heroin, they experience a euphoric high followed by deep relaxation and sleepiness. However, the physical effects of teen heroin addiction are severe and can affect people’s quality of life for years to come. At Destinations for Teens, we work with teens overcoming substance use disorders who want to lead sober lives. Contact 877.466.0620 to discover how your teen can benefit from our heroin addiction treatment program.

How Does Teen Heroin Addiction Impact Young Adults?

When a teen becomes addicted to heroin, their life changes dramatically. Their academic aspirations to attend college and have a good life might also disappear. They might even begin missing school frequently or drop out altogether. Or, if they were a teen who enjoyed participating in extracurricular activities, their interest would wane, and their friendships may end as well. Instead, they will begin hanging out with a different group of peers–either in school or your neighborhood. Finally, since teens will need money to finance their substance use disorder, they may resort to stealing, gambling, or unsafe employment. It is common for parents, guardians, or other family members to notice that money disappears from their wallets.

What Are the Physical Effects of Heroin Addiction?

Identifying a heroin addiction is one of the first steps you will ever take to help your teen. Although drug experimentation is sometimes easy for teens to hide, addiction is not easy to conceal as the physical effects will begin to be present in your teen’s life. Here are some physical effects of heroin addiction:

Track Marks

Track marks are a tell-tale sign of heroin addiction. Track marks are associated with people who use heroin intravenously. On their arms and other parts of the body where veins are present, an observer will be able to see markings of where the needle pierced the skin. Pay attention to the clothing your teens wear–if they are constantly in long sleeves and pants–even in warmer months, they may be hiding track marks.


While most teens occasionally exhibit moody behavior, when that irritability is extreme and includes withdrawing, this could be a sign of a substance use disorder. In addition, if a teen appears to be in a state of euphoria or very drowsy coupled with moodiness, this is a sign of evident addiction.


Heroin users experience chronic constipation. Reports show that nearly 80 percent of people who take opioids as prescribed for chronic pain experience constipation, also known as opioid-induced bowel disorders. This is a major concern that severely affects people’s lives.

Fluctuating Weight

If your teen begins to lose or gain weight without any change in diet or exercise, this, too, could be a sign of heroin addiction.

Withdrawing from Family and Keeping Secrets

Another sign of teen heroin addiction is displaying secretive behavior. When teens begin avoiding eye contact or isolate themselves from others, this is a warning sign of addiction.


If your teen has memory problems–forgetting things that should be important to their lives–this, too, may indicate the presence of substance use concerns.

Teen Heroin Addiction Treatment Available at Destinations for Teens

If your teen is showing signs of heroin addiction, helping them find an effective treatment program may save their life. Using heroin causes devastating long-term physical and psychological damage to your teen and your family. Reach out to Destinations for Teens at 877.466.0620. Our residential facilities will support your teen as they transition from being an active substance user to a life of recovery.