Admitting that you’ve done something wrong or that you have a problem is often the most difficult thing you can do, whether it’s admitting to your daughter that you were wrong to ground her or telling your spouse you committed adultery. But admitting to heroin use, especially when there can be legal ramifications, is by far the most difficult. It takes strength and courage to say that you’ve done something illegal, that you need help and that you’re ready to face the consequences.
Heroin and Addiction
Heroin is a huge problem in the United States and its usage is growing, especially in the suburbs and among teens. Initially, heroin was created to help manage pain. It creates a surge of dopamine and other chemicals, making the user incredibly happy, but it also slows the nervous system, slows the heart rate, slows breathing and can even stop the various bodily systems. When it leaves the system, it can make the user violently ill, such as nausea, vomiting and constipation, or they can simply feel drowsy, relaxed and pain-free.
Since it’s relatively cheap and easy to find and it can be almost euphoric for users, it’s an easy drug to turn to when struggling. Unfortunately, like many other drugs, even legal drugs, it’s both physically and psychologically addictive, so it can take just once to become addicted. The addictive qualities make stopping very difficult and even dangerous. On the other hand, repeated use leads to tolerance, which means it’s necessary to take more to experience the same effects.
People who are addicted wake up thinking about their next fix. They steal money to buy heroin. They are secretive. They make be sleepy, drowsy and out of it most of the time. Even people who are holding their lives together aren’t functioning well. And it can affect the people they love most.
What Are the Legal Ramifications of Admitting to Heroin Use?
For the odd person who admits they are addicted to or using heroin before they’re arrested or facing conviction for possession or selling, the legal ramifications are almost negligible. Parents might lose their kids, but if they go through rehab, meet with a counselor and pass regular inspections demonstrating that they’re not using, it’s very likely that they’ll be able to reunite with their children. Some people could lose their job, depending on what it is.
Most people, however, don’t admit to heroin usage before they’re arrested and have spent time in jail. For most people, facing several convictions, such as a DUI, possession and selling, and serving time in prison still isn’t enough to admit that they have a problem. When arrested and convicted, the legal ramifications are also much more serious. In addition to spending anywhere from 1-10 years in prison, a fine ranging from $5,000 for a small amount of heroin to $500,000 for a large amount is also likely. For individuals charged with selling heroin, trafficking penalties are involved and can result in a fine that’s up to $4,000,000. Additional convictions also rack up prison time and fines.
The legal ramifications aren’t the only consequences if arrested and charged. Many people will lose their families, including spouse and children, friends, and employment. At the very least, they’ll miss out on time with those people. A drug charge and time spent in prison can make it very difficult to find a job, later, even for people who are able to stop using while in prison.
Why Get Help?
Admitting that you’ve used heroin, that you have a problem, is hard. Facing friends, family members, employers and people you once respected and face the consequences can seem impossible, like it’s not worth it. But once you’ve taken the first step, rehabilitation centers can use a variety of methods, including counseling, to help you overcome addiction and get back on track. Groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, make it possible to stay on track even after you leave. The process is long and difficult, but by taking it one moment at a time, you can overcome the problem, fight the urge, become reunited with your family and friends and maybe, one day, even help someone else. It all starts by saying that you’ve used, that you’re addicted and that you want help. No one else can make that decision for you.