The untimely death of award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has led experts to sound the alarm on the rising heroin epidemic in America. The number of people using heroin has doubled in the last five years alone, and an estimated 27,000 people have died from heroin use over the last decade. Users say they turn to the drug to help fight off depression, anger, and sadness, but the high only lasts a few hours. Dr. Greg Skipper says it’s possible to be a functioning heroin addict, so many families are left to cope with the harmful effects addiction has on their loved ones and their daily lives
ABC correspondent Cecilia Vega knows all too well what that’s like, as her own father suffered from a heroin addiction from the time she was born and ultimately lost his life. She recalls knowing when he was high and seeing track marks on his arms, and regretting that he was not around to see all of the things that she and her brother accomplished. Vega is glad to share her personal story, because she knows others, including Hoffman’s family and friends, who are in a similar situation.
So, what can you do to help this problem? There are some signs you can look for to help a loved one who may be addicted. The signs are called the three “P’s” of heroin, and they stand for paraphernalia, such as spoons and needles, personality changes, like irritability, and physical effects, like smaller pupils or track marks from needles. Recognizing these signs can help you determine if someone is addicted to heroin, and can save lives.