Frequently asked questions about heroin, addiction, and recovery.


How can I get involved?


There are many ways you can be apart of JCF! The more helping hands, the better! Please contact Rebecca or Rose Castro via email at info@jeremycastrofoundation.org for ways you can be involved with JCF. You’re time and efforts are greatly appreciated. 


Where do donations go?


JCF regularly donates to a number of causes of hope in our community. Recent noteworthy efforts include:

  • Sponsoring two recovering addicts to help keep a roof over their heads while they continue their recovery and live a strong and sober life.

  • Donating three scholarships to soccer players for college.

  • Donating to our fellow organization, Not One More, which raises awareness for drug and alcohol abuse in the community.

JCF also plans regular educational speaking engagements at local high schools. We are also looking to form a parents group to help educate parents on the drugs in the area.

How can I add a photo or memory to the website? 

We want to hear from you! Your stories may have a lasting impact in someone’s life, and we want to give you the best way to reach them. Send your story in the body of an email addressed to  info@jeremycastrofoundation.org, attaching up to three pictures to the email. 

What is it??

  • Opioid: Class of drugs that relieves pain by binding to nerve cells in the body and brain.

  •  Heroin: An opioid processed from the seed pod of some poppy plants. It was manufactured by a pharmaceutical company in the late 1800s and sold as a treatment for tuberculosis as well as morphine addiction.

  • Oxycodone: Modified from a chemical found in opium, it is the active ingredient in pain relievers including Percocet, Percodan, Tylox and OxyContin.

  • Hydrocodone: Modified from codeine, it is used in drugs such as Vicodin, Norco and Lortab.

(Sources: Narconon and National Institute on Drug Abuse)


What are the common signs of a heroin user?

There is no face of heroin. Heroine users come from all walks of life, and the drug may hit anyone. However, there are some signs to look out for. Keep an eye out for signs that someone is using heroine, including:

  • Flushed skin

  • Dry mouth

  • Nodding off or falling asleep

  • Brain fog

  • May have trouble remembering what was just said

  • Very small pupils

  • Slowed breathing

  • Asking for money

  • Regularly needing more privacy

Other signs may show up as the person continues to use heroin, such as:


  • Pin marks and bruises where they are injecting

  • Abscesses or collapsed veins

  • Skin infections

  • Burn marks on the nose and mouth

  • Chronic nosebleeds

  • Digestive issues like constipation

  • Yellowing, aged looking skin

  • Rapid weight loss

  • Lung issues

  • Lack of motivation

  • Rapid mood swings


Look out for signs of paraphernalia as well, including:


  • Medical bands used to cut blood flow to the arm

  • Medical needles

  • Burnt or bent metal spoons

  • Bits of aluminum foil

  • Pipes

  • Razor blades

  • Baggies with residue in them


What does heroin look like? (photos of used foil, spoons, etc)


In its very purest form, heroin is a fine white powder. It is often mixed with other substances, so most heroin will vary in color. There are three common forms of heroin.


Brown heroin is the most common. It is a fine brown powder, used mainly for smoking. It is less potent that pure heroine, and much cheaper.


Black tar heroin looks a bit like gray ashes in its powdered form, but smells different. When it is heated it becomes gooey and black, and looks like tar.


White heroin may indicate pure heroin, or it may be heroin that is cut with other substances like sugar or cocaine. The consistency of the powder may change depending on what it is cut with.


What does heroin smell like?


In its purest form, heroin is often odorless. As the great majority of heroin is cut with other substances, heroin does tend to give off a smell. Heroin may be most recognized as an acidic smell, close to vinegar. If the heroin is cut with other drugs like amphetamines, it may give off a chemical smell.


How long does it take to get addicted to heroin?


Unlike many other drugs, heroin is extremely addictive. One hit is enough to create dependence in the body. One hit, and the person may be well on their way to addiction. Very quickly after, heroin is no longer a choice, but a need. The person will be controlled by heroin, and if they do not find help, they often spiral downward. 


While it is possible to fight heroin addiction and overcome the potency of the drug, the only way to avoid addiction is to avoid heroin.


What is fentanyl? What does it have to do with heroin?


Fentanyl is a synthetic, man-made opioid. Doctors sometimes use it to help with cases of extreme pain, but the drug is regularly added to other drugs as a cheap way to make them more potent. Many drug users cannot tell the difference between heroin laced with fentanyl and heroine cut with sugar or even pure heroin. 


Fentanyl is particularly dangerous because it is much more toxic than other opioids. It is about 40 to 50 times more toxic than heroin, making the risk of accidental overdose from these drugs much higher.


Fentanyl can build up in the body very fast, leading to a potentially fatal overdose much quicker and in lower doses than with heroin alone.



Where is heroin most commonly used?


Heroin use in the United States has been on the rise in recent years. The number of overdoses and deaths from heroin is also on the rise, partly due to the dangerous substances these drugs are now laced with. 


Young adults aged 18-25 are the most at risk group for heroin use, though it can strike anyone.


While heroin use was once mainly an issue in big cities, numerous small towns and suburbs are now experiencing overdose deaths and admissions to recovery centers associated with heroin in unprecedented numbers.


The communities that eliminate heroin are the ones which stand up against it, working to educate families and help people recover from their addiction. 

Never helpless, never hopeless


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© 2019 Jeremy Castro Foundation