Is Opioid Injecting Disrupting Your Family? 

Opioid Injection Addiction

Find your nearest doctor to speak about opioid treatment with Turn To Help.

Although a low proportion of the Australian population report injecting drugs, people who inject drugs often experience numerous damaging health consequences, including the risk of fatal overdoses.1 Moreover, an opioid injection addiction is a problematic disorder that has the potential to impact an individual’s family life, taking their focus away from their responsibilities and personal relationships. When opioids are used intravenously, they offer short-term pain relief and feelings of calmness. However, the long-term effects of an ongoing opioid injection addiction can be difficult for the individual and their family to manage.

How To Identify Injecting Drug Use

If you suspect that a family member has begun injecting opioids, it can be helpful to know the tell-tale signs that indicate the use of opioids. A range of physical symptoms can indicate opioid injection use, such as nausea, drowsiness, and a decreased respiratory rate. 2 Behavioural changes, such as a change in attitude, or secretive behaviour, may indicate that your loved one has been using injectable opioids. 2 You may also notice miscellaneous objects lying around, such as syringes, spoons, resealable plastic bags or burnt foil. While it can be confronting to be faced with these potential signs of opioid injection use, identifying them early on often proves important in preventing an addiction from occurring. 

Opioid Injection Addiction Signs

An effective way to determine whether an addiction to injectable opioids has developed is to encourage your loved one to speak to a doctor about the issues they are facing. You may also show them the self-assessment tool on the Turn To Help website. This tool offers a number of targeted questions to help you consider the severity of your symptoms. You may find it beneficial to reach out to a healthcare professional to discuss your results and consider whether an addiction has formed.

Understanding the Impacts of Opioid Injecting

If your family member displays signs and symptoms of opioid injecting, it’s crucial for them to speak to a doctor and organise the support they need. The Turn To Help website can assist them in finding a nearby doctor.

People who inject opioids are at an increased risk of contracting infectious diseases, such as hepatitis C and HIV.3 Injecting opioids also exposes an individual to psychological side effects such as restlessness and anxiety. 4 In some instances, the symptoms of opioid injection addiction are accompanied by financial worries, significant difficulty in carrying out work-related tasks, and consequent breakdown of relationships. Opioid injection addiction is never easy for the individual, nor their partner or children, and opioid injection addiction places great strain on these relationships. Childhood development may be negatively impacted in an environment where opioid injection addiction is present, and the potential of increased household conflict may inhibit a child’s confidence and their ability to focus on their education and social relationships.5

Support is Available

If your family member is suffering from an opioid injection addiction, you can initially show your support by speaking with them about your concerns. During this conversation, try to remain non-judgemental and encourage their honesty without issuing blame or demonstrating your frustrations. Patience and encouragement are important in helping your family member to open up, which may enable you to gain insight into why they inject opioids.

It’s crucial to help your family member feel comfortable by focusing the discussion on your concerns and expressing your commitment to helping them. A degree of positivity and ongoing encouragement is important in demonstrating your support and desire to help however you can. To help your family member begin their recovery, encourage them to visit the Turn To Help website to gain insight into opioid injection addiction and to locate a nearby doctor for a private consultation.

Opioid Injection Addiction

Reach Out To Turn To Help Today

If you feel that you or a loved one may have developed an opioid injection addiction, it is best to access the support available and consult a doctor. Various forms of support and resources are available at Turn To Help for those affected by opioid injection addiction.

References: 1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Alcohol, tobacco & other drugs in Australia. Available at https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/alcohol/alcohol-tobacco-other-drugs-australia/contents/priority-populations/people-who-inject-drugs. Accessed 31 July 2023. 2. New York State. Department Of Health. Opioids: Recognizing the Signs. Available at: https://www.health.ny.gov/community/opioid_epidemic/signs.htm. Accessed 24 May 2024. 3. Department Of Health. Opioids and Injection Drug Use. Available at: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/opioids/basics/intravenous.html. Accessed 24 May 2024.  4. American Psychiatric Association. Opioid Use Disorder. Available at: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/opioid-use-disorder. Accessed 24 May 2024. 5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Children Living With Parents Who Have A Substance Use Disorder. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_3223/ShortReport-3223.html. Accessed 8 November 2023.