Opioids & IV Drug Use: Risks, Warning Signs & How to Help a Loved One

Opioids & IV Drug Use: Risks, Warning Signs & How to Help a Loved One

As the parent or caregiver of someone struggling with opioid use, it’s important to understand how and why IV drug use may become a factor. This series of four videos will help families better understand the progression to IV drug use, the added layer of risks, how to spot early warning signs, and most importantly, steps one can take to help a loved one.

Community Prevention Initiative

The Boston Public Health Commission has created a website explaining all the prevention basics, including overdose prevention and youth substance use prevention. The website talks about what Boston is currently doing and breaks down the strategic plan for each prevention effort. The website also offers a free Narcan training for those who are interested.

Don’t forget! If you’re in MA you can get Narcan at any pharmacy simply by asking at the counter. Narcan is a standing prescription and you would simply pay your usual copay.

For more information go to the website below:

Boston Public Health Commission

Social Hosting Law

This is when an individual over the legal age serves, furnishes, or permits the possession or consumption of alcohol to a person underage on property for which s/he has responsibility. All statutes, regulations and case law that were centered on social hosting of alcohol parties were included.

Partnership for Drug Free Kids, https://socialhost.drugfree.org/

Want to learn more about the social hosting law in your states. Partnership for Drug Free Kids has created a map that will break down the law in each state. Follow the link below to learn more about the social hosting law in your state.

Social Hosting Laws

Parent Toolkit for Talking to your Teen about Substances

Operation Prevention breaks down opioid substance use. They go through the basics of opioids, facts v. myths, parenting styles, and finally how to start the discussion on substance use with your child. It breaks down discussion points for each age group and helps hone you’re skills for starting a discussion with your child.

Follow the link below to read the toolkit:




Heroin is an opiate (narcotic) drug processed from morphine and extracted from certain poppy plants. Heroin comes in a white or brownish powder, or a black sticky substance known as “black tar heroin.” Often “cut” with other drugs or substances such as sugar or powdered milk. User is unaware how much actual heroin is being used, creating likelihood of overdose.


Big H, Black Tar, Chiva, Hell Dust, Horse, Negra, Smack, Thunder


Injected, smoked, or sniffed/snorted. High purity heroin is usually snorted or smoked.


  • Highly addictive
  • Initial surge of euphoria or “rush,” followed by a twilight state of sleep and wakefulness
  • Physical symptoms of use include: drowsiness, respiratory depression, constricted pupils, nausea, a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and heavy extremities
  • Overdose symptoms: slow and shallow breathing, blue lips and fingernails, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, and possible death

Reference: https://www.justthinktwice.gov/drugs/heroin