Heroin Track Marks | What Do Heroin Track Marks Look Like?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on June 16, 2020

People who have abused heroin intraveneously  (injecting or “shooting” ) over a long period of time often exhibit signs of addiction such as track marks at the injection site.  Track marks can vary from barely noticeable (i.e little red bumps) to very noticeable (large bruises, etc).

Heroin Track Marks

One of the most addictive drugs in the United States is heroin, a powdery substance that depresses the central nervous system. Heroin is commonly referred to as a “downer” by those who are addicted to it.

Most people snort it through their nostrils when they first start using it. But, as they become dependent on the drug, they often switch to injecting heroin instead so they can get a faster high from it.

Unfortunately, heroin injection can lead to a lot of serious health problems, which is why it is important to learn about the dangers and side effects of heroin abuse, which include heroin track marks.

What Do Heroin Track Marks Look Like?

In order to understand what heroin track marks look like, it is important to know that most people who have them have been addicted to the drug for some time.

New drug users usually stick to snorting the substance because they are still trying to hide their addiction. As their dependency grows, they become more concerned with how they can get more of the substance instead of what other people think of them.

With time and frequent heroin abuse by injection, some telltale signs may arise at the injection site, commonly known as heroin track marks. If a person is already concerned with covering up their heroin use, they may wear long sleeves and pants to hide evidence of heroin track marks.

In people who have begun abusing heroin regularly, loved ones may start noticing small, red bumps on the inside of their arms, toes, and fingers. There might also be some swelling and bruising from the damage that the injections do to the soft tissue in these places.

Heroin Track Marks – A Sign Of A Serious Problem

People who are addicted to heroin frequently use the same needle to inject the drug until they can find another one. Hypodermic needles are only made for one use, so they become dull and bent over time.

This causes trauma to the skin from the heroin track marks that the damaged needles create, which can lead to infections, ulcers, and abscesses. Noticeable scars will develop over time, too.

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Since there is a bad stigma against addicted people, this can make it hard for a person to be able to get a job or be admitted into an educational program.

If needles are shared between several people, the dangers of heroin track marks can also include a high risk of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, or other bloodborne illnesses.

Other Dangers Of Shooting (Injecting) Heroin

Unless a person has been properly trained in how to give injections, they can do serious damage to the veins if they attempt to use a hypodermic needle on themselves or others.

For any type of injection, it is crucial that the needle is inserted the proper depth into the skin because if an injection is too shallow, the fluid won’t reach the vein. This can cause an ulcer.

If the injection is too deep, the needle might puncture the vein all the way through. Repeatedly using the same vein is also problematic because it can cause it to collapse.

But one of the worst dangers of injecting heroin is the potential for a clot developing in a vein. If the powdery substance isn’t dissolved completely before it is injected, any leftover clumps could block the veins so that blood can’t flow through them properly.

If this clot breaks free, it could reach the heart, lungs, or brain. This could result in a deadly heart attack, pulmonary embolism, or a stroke.

Find Treatment For Heroin Abuse And Addiction

Injecting heroin into the body can cause serious damage to the skin and veins, which can result in embarrassing scars and serious infections from heroin track marks.

It can also lead to a person developing a blood clot, which can be fatal. If you or someone you know has an addiction to heroin, it is crucial that you get help at a drug rehabilitation center right away. For more information on how to find the best facility to suit your needs, give one of our representatives a call today.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on June 16, 2020
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