There are many ways in which a person can consume substances – orally, crushing and snorting, smoking, or injecting with needles. The way in which a person consumes a drug often determines the type of “high” they will experience, primarily because each method affects the body differently. Intravenous (IV) drug use is done with many different kinds of drugs, including heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, opioid painkillers, methamphetamine, and more. IV drug use is a common occurrence, as it has been shown to bypass metabolism in the liver by entering directly into the bloodstream. This can lead to a shorter, more intense high, which can heighten the risk of dependency to the drug.
There are many risks with using needles. The most commonly heard-of effects include bruising on the arms, scarring, and inflamed or collapsed veins. Chronic wounds and abscesses are another common risk associated with drug injection; a 2015 study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine found that of 152 participants, 34.9% of them had a general wound, 17.8% had chronic abscesses, and 19.7% had a current chronic wound. Some drugs, such as black tar heroin, are thick and adulterated with many additives and contaminants that can clog blood vessels and damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and brain. These are the main concerns associated with IV drug use:
- HIV – sharing or using needles, cookers, cotton or water with someone who has the virus.
- Hepatitis C – a liver infection that can be contracted from sharing needles and other equipment used for drugs
- Cardiovascular disease – bacterial infections can collect on blood vessels and heart valves
- Overdose – since dosing IV causes the drug to enter directly into the bloodstream, it’s difficult to determine the “right” dose that would be needed to achieve that high – meaning you have a greater chance of overdosing.
- Coma – some drugs can harm the central nervous system, sending a person into a state of unconsciousness. Drug injection can increase the risk of this happening due to its direct effects.
Drug injection sites are now being considered around the United States to help prevent people from sharing or using dirty needles. If you have been struggling with drug addiction, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today. It’s never too late – recovery is possible.
Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.