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Are Heroin Addicts Violent?

A couple and their grown children take a walk in the park together.
Life isn’t a Hallmark movie for anyone, but there is a way to bring healing to your family.

Most of us are aware that addiction changes the way a person thinks. So we are willing to overlook hurtful comments, missed appointments and broken promises—all with the hope that our loved one will eventually agree to seek help and get better.

But violence is not something we can ignore.

Does heroin make people more physically aggressive? It turns out that the answer is not as black and white and is may seem.

Heroin and Violence

A review called “Aggressive Behavior and Heroin Addiction” examined the link between violence and heroin use in 2012.

The first thing to keep in mind is that heroin is a depressant, not a stimulant like cocaine or meth. And the 2012 review did find that “heroin users are hardly ever violent under the influence of narcotics … while those who use stimulants are likely to be violent under the effects of those drugs.”

But the review went on to say that heroin users can be aggressive while experiencing withdrawal. It’s also well known that addiction leads to impulsive behavior. When you combine that with intense cravings, the results can be unpredictable.

Further complicating the issue is that it can be hard to tell whether aggressive behavior is caused by addiction or by a pre-existing psychological condition. The review also indicated that heroin users are 14 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.

The Next Step

Research is pretty clear that heroin users are not as dangerous as meth or cocaine users. But that doesn’t mean they are not a risk—to themselves or to others.

Take the steps you need to protect yourself, including limiting a user’s contact with those who can’t protect themselves like children or the elderly.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to help your loved one manage their addiction and get better, which includes treating any co-occurring conditions such as anxiety or depression.

Heroin Addiction Rehab Near Denver

As hopeless as you may feel, it’s important to remember that there is a way out. And your loved one does not need to hit rock bottom to find it. At The Raleigh House, we have a team of trained therapists who will work with your loved one to come up with a recovery plan tailored to his or her needs. The goal isn’t just to get off heroin—it’s to build a full and meaningful life. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the heroin addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

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