IV Drug Use: Signs, Dangers, and Treatment

iv drug use

An overdose can cause serious medical complications and can result in permanent damage or even death in the most severe cases. In most cases, skin ulcers appear as a round open wound or sore on the skin. Sometimes, the border of a skin ulcer may appear thicker or have a raised texture.

However, reading about how to inject and actually doing it are two different things. If you are new to injecting, we can only caution you to read this manual thoroughly before you begin and to go slow and be aware of everything you’re doing. If the risk of injecting drugs seems too dangerous after you’ve read this booklet, deciding not to administer drugs via injection is a harm reduction response that we whole-heartedly support. However, several viral infectious diseases are still transmitted between IV drug users, including hepatitis C (HCV), hepatitis B (HBV), and HIV/AIDS. More dangerous injection sites are often used as easily accessible veins are exhausted. Injecting into the pulmonary or femoral vein is common after forearms become damaged.

Intravenous injection (mainlining), or injecting a substance directly into the bloodstream through a vein, is one of the fastest ways to deliver a drug into your system. It is also the riskiest method to use in terms of overdose (as compared to sniffing, smoking, or oral administration) because the entire dose enters the body all at once and very quickly. Injecting intravenously usually gives the user a “rush” that many people report to be alcohol and aging effects extremely pleasurable, a sensation that does not occur with intramuscular or subcutaneous injection. While each injection method carries its own risks, mainlining is arguably the riskiest since it creates a direct opening between the bloodstream and the outside world. Heroin, cocaine, and amphetamine are three drugs that are commonly administered intravenously. Misusing IV drugs can increase your risk of developing various infections.

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Slide the needle under your skin at a shallow angle, 15° to 45°  at  the  most. Inject  no  more  than  1⁄2   cc  of  liquid  (half  of  the volume ambien of a 1 cc syringe) to form a little bubble under the skin. If  your  hit  is  more  than  1⁄2   cc, inject  into  two  or  more  sites.

  1. When a virus, bacteria or other germs are introduced and trapped beneath the skin, an abscess can form.
  2. The use of contaminated injection drug equipment is a primary transmission route for both HIV and hepatitis C.
  3. As HIV progresses, it may cause irritated, flakey skin, shingles, oral thrush and significant weight loss.
  4. Also, skin-poppers are at greatly increased risk for abscesses, especially if injecting crushed pills or another solution with particles in it.
  5. When the body’s nerves are targeted, it can cause difficulty breathing and general muscle weakness.
  6. Hepatitis causes inflammation in the liver, which can have serious side effects.

Our team takes a compassionate approach to treatments and is there to help patients along their sobriety journeys. Antibiotics are often needed to treat septic thrombophlebitis effectively. If you have symptoms of septic thrombophlebitis, you should seek immediate medical attention. An early diagnosis can increase the chance of effective treatment and minimize the potential for possible medical complications.

Skin discoloration around an ulcer is normal, with inflammation and a feeling of warmth developing. There should not be much bleeding at the injection site when skin-popping, but you might want to apply a Band-Aid to prevent infection. Veins are blood vessels that carry blood from the extremities of the body back to the heart and lungs where it becomes re-oxygenated. Veins have no pulse, and the blood they carry is a deep, dark red because it is low in oxygen.

Septic Thrombophlebitis

Additionally, necrotizing fasciitis may cause a crackling or popping sensation under the skin resulting from gas trapped in the soft tissues. As necrotizing fasciitis develops, it destroys the tissues beneath the skin. Prompt treatment is needed as this condition can develop and spread quickly. Those with HIV may not develop symptoms immediately or assume they may just have a cold or flu.

iv drug use

See the latest data on HIV among people who inject drugs, and learn what CDC is doing to prevent HIV infections among this population. Treatment may be complicated by difficulty obtaining venous access and by poor adherence to treatment regimens. Subcutaneous injection (skin popping) can cause characteristic circular scars or ulcers; there may be signs of previous abscesses. People with substance use disorders may deny stigmata of drug use by attributing track marks to frequent blood donations, bug bites, or previous trauma.

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The bump from the solution you injected will slowly decrease as the liquid is absorbed into the body, and should disappear completely within a few hours. Skin-popping can be uncomfortable, and the bump you create may hurt a bit. If you skin pop where the skin is loose, pinch the skin between your thumb and forefinger and put the needle into the skin you’ve pulled up. Also, chances are that if you’re shooting coke, you’ll be injecting many times in a short period of time with perhaps only several minutes between each injection. This can be traumatic on the veins and the surrounding tissues, and result in a lot of bleeding.

Skin-poppers should follow all of the infection control and other safety precautions that intravenous and intramuscular injectors should follow. Also, skin-poppers are at greatly increased risk for abscesses, especially if injecting crushed pills or another solution with particles in it. When skin-popping, it is critical to use only a solution that is as particle-free as possible. Endocarditis is an infection that develops in the heart’s inner lining or valves. This infection can occur when fungi and bacteria enter the bloodstream. Symptoms of endocarditis may develop quickly for some patients while developing more slowly for others.

Massaging the area lightly for a few minutes will help the drug absorb and reduce the pain. Because speed is often cut with such dangerous chemicals, it is very important not to miss your shot. Skin-popping speed can be very painful, may cause an abscess, and will take a long time for the body to absorb. If you get the shakes after doing a few shots, it may be helpful to have a friend inject you if you are not using alone. Because the quality of speed varies so dramatically, a tester shot is a good idea. IV drugs are often preferred over oral capsules because intravenous injection gets the desired substance to the brain much faster.

Those with damaged or artificial heart valves may be at a higher risk of developing endocarditis. Sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment (works) to inject drugs puts people at high risk for getting or transmitting HIV and other infections. People who inject drugs account for about 1 in 10 HIV diagnoses in the United States. Syringe services programs (SSPs) can play a role in preventing HIV and other health problems among PWID, by providing access to sterile syringes.

Arteries carry blood rich in oxygen from the lungs and heart to all the other parts of the body. Arteries are located deeper in the body than veins and so are not visible inhalant abuse as many of your veins are. The following is a breakdown of possible intravenous injection sites, beginning with the safest options and moving toward the least safe ones.

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