Some drug users may choose to inject drugs into the body using hypodermic needles. This is normally done due to achieve accelerated onset or greater bioavailabilityThe fraction of an administered dose that is absorbed into a living system.. It must be noted, however, that injecting drugs, especially intravenously, increases risk in multiple ways, ranging from physical harm to greater addiction potential.
The risks involved are many but range from minor cosmetic damage to the skin at the injection site to serious adverse outcomes like sepsis or vein collapse in poorly performed procedures or too frequent use of intravenous injection in a region. For certain drugs injection also seriously increases the risk of overdose. These are not dangers to be taken lightly and must be taken into account.
There are several methods of injecting drugs, each with a different technique. Not all drugs are injectable, not all drugs are worth injecting, and which method one uses to inject varies by compound. Therefore, whilst it is always essential to research the properties of the drugs you are using, it is especially so when injecting drugs directly into the body. This article assumes you have evaluated the properties of your chosen drug and that you have selected a drug which is appropriate for your chosen technique.
Do not reuse your equipment, particularly needles and syringes as this is an infection risk. Never share a needle, as this is a vector for the transmission of several serious blood borne diseases including HIV and multiple hepatitis viruses. These cannot be cured, only managed, but can be contracted through a single shared needle.
Unlike other methods of using drugs, injection requires significant preparation and equipment. Most of the necessary items are available from needle exchanges or online retailers.
|Needle||These are the hypodermic tips which attach to syringes. They are typically sold separately from syringes, and come in a variety of lengths and diameters depending on the technique they are required for.|
|Syringe||These are plastic devices which contain a barrel and a plunger. They allow measured amounts of liquid to be pulled into them, and expelled where required. Typically syringes connect to needles via a Luer Lock mechanism. The size of the syringe you require will depend on the type of drug you use, and the volume of liquid required to dissolve an active dose.|
|Gloves||While some people skip using gloves, they are useful in avoiding contamination and protecting against infection.|
|Alcoholic wipes||These are necessary for cleaning your hands and the injection site.|
|Sterile water||This is necessary for dissolving your drug of choice. If your drug is already in pharmaceutical solution this step is not necessary. If you do not have access to sterile water it is possible to boil water for 10 minutes to achieve a relatively sterile solution, although this is inferior to truly sterile solution.|
This method of injection is typically used for drugs for which speedy onset is not appropriate. The main 'street' drug injected intramuscularly is ketamine. Muscle is highly vascular, meaning it is well supplied with blood vessels, yet acts as a reservoir for the injected drug, releasing it gradually into the bloodstream. Onset is typically within a matter of 5 to 15 minutes.
For intramuscular injection you will need a relatively long needle, more than 2 centimetres. 21 or 23G is the recommended gauge used by the NHS. Before you inject, inspect your surroundings for danger. Ensure there is nothing lying around to trip on, slip on, or hit your head on. Inject in a position that you can sit or lie down from, after drug administration.