The Dangers Of “Skin-Popping” Drugs

“Skin-Popping” Drugs

Along with intravenous injection, drugs like cocaine, steroids and heroin can be intradermally, subcutaneously and intramuscularly injected—also known as “skin-popping.” These types of drug injections can lead to health problems, euphoria, overdose, and amputations. Drug rehab centers can help a person safely begin recovery and stop abusing drugs.

Skin-popping is a method used to inject illicit substances like heroin and other opiates, cocaine, anabolic steroids, barbiturates, and some medications. Over the years, methods for using drugs have become more effective and easier. Skin-popping may be an easy method, but is just as dangerous as any other method and has potential to lead to serious skin conditions and other health complications.

What Is Skin-Popping?

Skin-popping is also known as subcutaneous or intradermal injection. It’s a preferred method of using black tar heroin, cocaine, and anabolic steroids. Intradermal injection is the introduction of a drug between the skin and fat just below the surface, and subcutaneous is injection of a drug into the tissue layers just beneath the layers of skin. A drug doesn’t work as quickly through intradermal or subcutaneous injection as it does from injecting it into the veins, directly into the bloodstream.

Why Skin-Popping?

There are a lot of reasons that people prefer not to inject chemicals directly into their veins. “For some, trying to hit a vein gets so frustrating that they just give up and shoot anywhere they can. Some do it because drugs absorb more slowly this way. Muscling and skin-popping give you less of a ‘rush,’ but the effects of the drug may last longer” (Public Health Seattle and King County).

“Skin-Popping” Drugs_Intradermal Injection

People will also switch to skin-popping if frequent intravenous injections have led to hardened or scarred skin and the veins are no longer easily accessible. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), the most frequently used sites for injection are “the neck, supraclavicular region and the thorax.”

Some addicted individuals may be at the point that they aren’t so concerned about the rush, but more about the withdrawal that comes when they stop using the drugs.

Most Frequently Injected Drugs

The substances most commonly used for intradermal and subcutaneous injection are heroin and other opiates, cocaine, anabolic steroids, and sometimes barbiturates. Some of these substances are more dangerous and more addictive than others, but neither intravenous, nor intradermal, nor intramuscular injection is considered a safe alternative to use them.

“All three have serious risks. All three put you at great risk for blood-borne infections like HIV and Hepatitis B and C. Although muscling and skin-popping may cause more abscesses and skin infections, shooting into a vein may be more likely to cause serious long-term illnesses like endocarditis (heart valve infection)” (Public Health Seattle and King County).

Intradermal And Subcutaneous Substance Abuse

Intradermal means “within the skin” and subcutaneous means “under the skin.” In either case, they’re types of skin-popping, and can lead to different health problems and skin conditions. Subcutaneous injection goes deeper than intradermal but not as deep as intramuscular. More specifically, subcutaneous injections are inserted into a layer of skin just before the muscle.

Intradermally Injecting Cocaine

Cocaine is a stimulant that has a serious impact on a person’s nervous system and heart. When injecting cocaine, the drug goes directly into the bloodstream. This not only intensifies the euphoria, but also the health consequences.

“Skin-Popping” Drugs_Cocaine Abuse

Intradermal cocaine abuse is actually associated with Fournier’s gangrene. Further, “cocaine abuse is associated with a number of medical complications, most notably arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, and cerebral hemorrhage” (NLM).

Intradermally Injecting Opiates

Opiates like oxycodone, morphine, and heroin are the most commonly injected drugs and, like cocaine, they can lead to a lot of negative consequences. Opiates are classified as central nervous system depressants that cause a person to feel an intense euphoria, drowsiness, disorientation, and numbness. Heroin takes longer to reach the bloodstream through intradermal injection, so a person may use more of it to achieve a more intense high—increasing their chance of overdose.

Is Heroin More Addictive When Injected?

Some people believe that heroin isn’t as addictive when it’s snorted or used by skin-popping. This is not true. The drug is highly addictive no matter how it’s abused. The biggest difference between intravenous, intramuscular, intradermal, and nasal administration is the amount of time it takes for the substance to reach the brain.

“Skin-Popping” Drugs_Skin-Popping Effects

According to the Center For Substance Abuse Research (CESAR), “intravenous injection provides the greatest intensity and most rapid onset of effects, as users can feel peak effects after 7 to 8 seconds. Intramuscular injection produces the euphoric high within 5 to 8 minutes, and when the drug is sniffed or smoked, effects are felt within 10 to 15 minutes.”

Heroin Overdose Statistics

CESAR goes on to describe the some of the side-effects of heroin by stating, “overdosing is a very real danger for heroin users. It is far more common than one might expect; a 2001 study in Australia concluded that 54% of regular injecting drug users reported experiencing at least one non-fatal overdose in their lifetime.”

Heroin overdose can include one or more of the following side effects:

  • Extremely slow and shallow breathing
  • Convulsions
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Confusion
  • Blue lips
  • Weak pulse
  • Low blood pressure
  • Uncontrollable muscle spasms
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Stopped breathing
  • Coma

If someone is overdosing, they need to be taken to the hospital immediately. An overdose can be fatal.

Intramuscularly Injecting Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are the drugs most commonly abused by intramuscular injection, or muscling. Muscling occurs when a person injects a substance into the muscle instead of the vein, usually in the upper arms or legs. This method is commonly used in medicine for oral/dental surgeries, for substances that irritate the veins, or because a vein can’t be found. No matter which method is used for injecting, it can lead to abscesses, lesions, and tissue scarring.

Skin-Popping Abscesses, Lesions, And Scars

As substance abuse continues, the areas of injection become scarred, and lesions or abscesses start to form. When the body becomes infected, the immune system sends white blood cells to fight the infection. These injured sites become callused scar tissue over time.

“Skin-Popping” Drugs_Skin-Popping Scars

“Scars are most commonly found on dorsal hands, digits, wrist, forearms, and lower extremities” (VisualDx). These scars and abscesses can last for life, and can show up years after a person stops.

Dangers And Complications Of Skin-Popping And Muscling

From Public Health Seattle And King County, “muscling and skin-popping allow germs to ‘sit’ inside muscle and fat tissue or under the skin. These are great places for abscesses and other infections to brew. Infections in these areas can be very serious. They can also spread to the blood, bones, heart and other places in the body. Some of the worst infections include wound botulism, tetanus (also called “lockjaw”) and necrotizing fasciitis (‘flesh eating disease’). If not treated quickly, these and other infections can become life-threatening and result in death.”

Treatment And Therapy For Addiction

Some people might continue abusing injectable substances to avoid painful withdrawal and intense cravings. Through a medically-supervised detoxification, these withdrawals and cravings can be managed through a healthy and natural process. After detox, addiction specialists, therapists, or psychologists can help patients better understand addiction, emotions, and behaviors.

Some of the most effective addiction treatment programs are:

Finding The Right Treatment For You

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, we understand what you’re going through. We want to help you on your road to recovery. Contact us today to speak to one of our kind, caring professionals about skin-popping and rehab treatment.

If you or a loved one are struggling with an OxyContin or prescription drug addiction, contact us now!

For More Information Related to “The Dangers Of “Skin-Popping” Drugs” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From

Sepsis From Intravenous (IV) Drug Use

Cotton Fever From IV Drug Use

Cellulitis From Intravenous (IV) Drug Use

Recovery Solutions: Hepatitis C Treatment For Former IV Drug Use

Understanding A Needle Fixation



Center For Substance Abuse Research—Heroin
Public Health Seattle And King County—Muscling and Skin Popping
U.S. National Library Of Medicine—Fournier’s gangrene associated with intradermal injection of cocaine
U.S. National Library Of Medicine—Pneumothorax: A Complication of ‘Skin Popping’
VisualDx—Skin Popping Substance Abuse

The Dangers Of Subcutaneous Drug Injection

Subcutaneous Drug Injection_

Subcutaneous injection means “under the skin,” and is a method used in clinical settings to inject insulin, Morphine, diacetylmorphine, and goserelin. Heroin, other opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, and various other medications can all be abused by subcutaneous injection. It can lead to skin infections and viruses as well.

A person abusing drugs by subcutaneous injection may be at great risk of contracting skin infections like abscesses, HIV, hepatitis C, and other immunodeficiency diseases. A rehab treatment program may be able to help you avoid these risks, quit abusing drugs, and beat addiction.

Understanding Subcutaneous Injection

Over the years, substance abuse methods have changed, and a lot of people have switched to faster routes of administration for drugs like heroin or cocaine. Subcutaneous injection is sometimes referred to as “skin-popping,” which is using a hypodermic needle to inject a substance between the dermis layer of skin and muscle tissues.

This method is commonly used in medicine for insulin, but there are some reasons that a person might subcutaneously inject illicit drugs as well. For instance, some might skin-pop because they can’t find a vein, or because taking a medication orally defeats the purpose if the stomach enzymes will destroy it.

Subcutaneous Drug Injection_PHSKC

Additionally “some do it because drugs absorb more slowly this way. “Muscling and skin-popping give you less of a ‘rush,’ but the effects of the drug may last longer,” according to Public Health Seattle and King County (PHSKC).

What Are The Most Commonly Injected Drugs?

In the world of substance abuse and addiction, any substance that’s water soluble can be injected. The majority of people who inject drugs do so intravenously. However, if they’ve missed a vein or prefer not to shoot up into their veins they may resort to “skin-popping.”

Gloria J Baciewicz, M.D. of Medscape said, “the most commonly injected drug is heroin, but amphetamines, buprenorphine, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, cocaine, and methamphetamine also are injected.” She continues, “treatment of individuals who use injection drugs may be complicated by social and political barriers to treatment and by a lack of resources for public health approaches to treatment.”

Dangers Of Injecting Heroin And Other Opioids

Injecting heroin into the veins is the fastest route of getting the substance into the bloodstream, central nervous system, and brain. With a subcutaneous route, the opioids linger for minutes longer before arriving into the bloodstream. The rush a person experiences isn’t as intense, and it will stay in the system for longer. This delay often leaves room for further health complications and infections.

As stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “people who inject drugs such as heroin are at high risk of contracting the HIV and hepatitis C virus. These diseases are transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids, which can occur when sharing needles or other injection drug use equipment.”

Dangers Of Injecting Cocaine

The euphoria produced from injecting cocaine occurs much faster than snorting it, and even though it doesn’t last as long, it can easily put a person in harm’s way.

Subcutaneous Drug Injection_Gauge SizesJust like heroin, injecting cocaine can put a person at “higher risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis C, and other bloodborne diseases. However, even people involved with non-needle cocaine use place themselves at a risk for HIV because cocaine impairs judgment, which can lead to risky sexual behavior with infected partners” (NIDA).

Not only does subcutaneous cocaine abuse have potential to lead to immunodeficiency diseases, it has also been proven to actually speed up the HIV infection. Based on the research by the NIDA, this is because “cocaine impairs immune cell function and promotes reproduction of the HIV virus. People who use cocaine and are infected with HIV also increase their risk for co-infection with hepatitis C, a virus that affects the liver.”

Dangers Of Injecting Anabolic Steroids

Although anabolic steroids don’t cause the same euphoria and rush as cocaine or heroin, they can still be dangerous. Steroids are one of the most frequently injected drugs. Even though the most common route is intramuscular, steroids can be abused through subcutaneous routes as well.

Some of the consequences of abusing anabolic steroids are as follows:

  • Short-term effects such as mental problems, and extreme mood swings, including “roid rage”—angry feelings and behavior that may lead to violence.
  • Continued steroid abuse can act on some of the same brain pathways and chemicals—including dopamine, serotonin, and opioid systems—that are affected by other drugs.
  • Long-term, even permanent, health problems, including effects which are gender- and age-specific.
  • Increased risk of contracting or transmitting HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.
  • Risk of developing addiction

Dangers Of Injecting Barbiturates

Barbiturates are central nervous system depressants similar to benzodiazepines, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and alcohol that produce euphoria. They’re commonly used in veterinary practices to sedate or treat epileptic animals, but they can be abused by snorting, injecting, purchasing them illegally, or taking a prescription that isn’t yours.

“Barbiturates are generally abused to reduce anxiety, decrease inhibitions, and treat unwanted effects of illicit substances. Barbiturates can be extremely dangerous because overdoses can occur easily and lead to death” reports the Department of Developmental Services.

Regular abuse of barbiturates is more likely to build up a person’s tolerance, and cause them to need more of the drug to get the same effect. Tolerance puts people at greater risk of overdose, another risk-factor that’s increased by subcutaneous abuse.

Other Risks

Sharing or using dirty or contaminated needles is extremely dangerous and can put a person at a greater risk of HIV, tetanus, and hepatitis C. It can also lead to skin conditions like abscesses, lesions, or Cellulitis—or even necrotizing fasciitis, wound botulism, and gas gangrene.

One of the biggest risks with subcutaneous injection is that it allows “germs to ‘sit’ inside muscle and fat tissue or under the skin. These are great places for abscesses and other infections to brew. Infections in these areas can be very serious. They can also spread to the blood, bones, heart and other places in the body,” states PHSKC.

What Are Abscesses, Lesions, and Cellulitis?

Abscesses can happen anywhere in the body, but most commonly form in the mouth, on the skin, and under the skin. They “occur when an area of tissue becomes infected and the body’s immune system tries to fight it. White blood cells (WBCs) move through the walls of the blood vessels into the area of the infection and collect in the damaged tissue. During this process, pus forms,” the U.S. National Library of Medicine explains.

Subcutaneous Drug Injection_DangersLesions are hardened, callused tissue. With long-term subcutaneous injection, scar tissue and lesions form at the site the needle enters. They are defined by the National Cancer Institute as “an area of abnormal tissue. A lesion may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).”

Cellulitis is “an infection of the skin and deep underlying tissues. Group A strep (streptococcal) bacteria are the most common cause. The bacteria enter your body when you get an injury such as a bruise, burn, surgical cut, or wound,” according to the NLM.

Long-Term Health Risks Of Injecting Drugs

There are a wide range of risks associated with injecting drugs, but some of the most vital organs are severely affected. The organs damaged are the dermis, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, central nervous system, and brain.

How To Help If Someone Is Injecting Drugs

A common sign of drug abuse by injection is spots on the skin where the needle went in. A person who injects drugs may also spend a lot of time alone, or frequently become irritable.

If somebody you care about is battling a substance use disorder, you may be able to help them by conducting an intervention. Interventions are led by qualified professionals who have experience conducting them.

Addiction Prevention And Treatment

It can be hard to overcome addiction, but it’s possible. Sometimes all it takes is the right treatment to start the process. Behavioral therapy and other treatment programs can help a person overcome addiction and embark on the road to recovery.

Some of the frequently implemented and most successful treatments are detoxification, dialectical behavior therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, group therapy, and aftercare support.

Finding The Best Rehab Center

There are a lot of diseases out there, and not all of them have cures, but you can treat addiction and enter recovery. We want to help you recover from addiction.

If you or someone you love is battling addiction, contact a caring, friendly specialist at You can find out more about subcutaneous drug injection, addiction treatment programs, and how to begin recovery.

If you or a loved one are struggling with an OxyContin or prescription drug addiction, contact us now!

For More Information Related to “The Dangers Of Subcutaneous Drug Injection” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From



Department of Developmental Services—Barbiturates
Medscape—Injecting Drug Use
National Cancer Institute—Dictionary of Cancer Terms
National Institute on Drug Abuse—Anabolic Steroids, Cocaine, Heroin
Public Health Seattle and King County—Muscling and Skin Popping
U.S. National Library of Medicine—Abscess, Cellulitis

Cellulitis From Intravenous (IV) Drug Use Cellulitis_

There are many types of drugs which are abused via IV injection. For many, the most well known is the addictive and very dangerous opioid drug heroin. In addition, certain prescription opioid painkillers, cocaine, and methamphetamine are also heavily abused. If you or a loved one IV injects, you need to be aware of the risks and dangers associated with this method. Intravenous drug use weakens your immune system, making it more susceptible to infections like cellulitis.

Why Does IV Drug Abuse Cause Cellulitis?

One of the hallmark signs of drug addiction is when a person continues to use despite the knowledge that their drug abuse is causing harm to their body and health. The types of drugs which are IV injected are very addictive. Because of this, many people are so consumed by seeking their next fix that they ignore safe injection practices. Cellulitis_STAPHYLOCOCCUS- AUREUS

Factors which can cause cellulitis include:

Our Skin: On any given day, your skin is host to a variety of bacteria and other microorganisms. Many of these are harmless and even beneficial. However, certain bacteria which reside here can become dangerous if they enter your body. As the needle pierces your skin during IV injection, any surface bacteria could be carried into your body.

Not Cleaning The Skin: If an individual doesn’t properly clean and disinfect the injection site, these bacteria and other pathogens will have a way into your body. Instead of using alcohol which kills certain bacteria, some individuals will lick their arm or use saliva. These practices fail to remove bacteria, and instead introduce harmful oral bacteria to the injection site.

Drug Type: Many drugs are adulterated or cut with other substances which can irritate the skin and tissue. “Speedballs” (heroin and cocaine) have been shown to increase the risk of infection as well.

Paraphernalia: Needles or other paraphernalia (spoons, filters, and mixing or wash water) could be contaminated, compounding this risk. This happens by:

  • Sharing needles
  • Reusing needles
  • Cleaning needles with spit

Beyond this, some people may use a dull needle which creates more damage to the skin.

“Skin Popping”: Chronic drug use can damage veins so extensively, that they become inaccessible. If this happens, some people may resort to “skin popping.” To do this, a person injects the drug under their skin instead of into a vein. This method has been linked to increased rates of cellulitis, such that “injection drug users who skin-pop are five times more likely to develop…cellulitis,” as reported within the article “Dermatologic Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse.”

Where You Inject: Certain individuals actually inject into a spot which is already becoming infected. This overwhelms an area which is already in overdrive with even more bacteria. Certain areas (like the groin) may be harder to clean, leading to higher rates of infection.

What Is Cellulitis? Cellulitis_SpreadingCellulitis is a type of skin and soft tissue infection. Staphylococcus aureus is frequently responsible for infections of this kind (staph infections). Cellulitis is one of the two most common forms of staph infections. It may also be caused by certain types of streptococcal and oral bacteria or even fungi.

Once these bacteria find a way beneath the skin, your body’s natural defenses go to work. An infection is a sign that your white blood cells are trying to fight the bacterial invaders. The infection develops at or near the injection site. Symptoms emerge suddenly, and usually appear in two to five days after the bacteria first gained a foothold. Once cellulitis appears, the sore and/or rash quickly expands within the first day. Other signs include:

  • Blisters
  • Dimpled skin
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and/or chills
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Stiff joints
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness

This area will commonly be warm and is most always excessively painful to the touch. The skin may also appear tight in a way which makes it seem glossy. Please do not ignore these symptoms or try to treat cellulitis on your own. Improperly treated cellulitis can lead to more severe infections and deadly complications.

What Complications Can Cellulitis Cause?

Sometimes, cellulitis will spread. As this happens, the redness and inflammation will travel across your limb or other body part. This is a very bad sign which means the infection is growing. If you don’t treat cellulitis, it could develop into other more severe complications, according to MedlinePlus, such as:

  • Abscesses
  • Bone infection (osteomyelitis)
  • Gangrene (tissue death)
  • Infection of the heart (endocarditis)
  • Inflammation of the lymph vessels (lymphangitis)
  • Meningitis
  • Shock

Additionally, without proper medical care, the bad bacteria and infection could gain a stronghold in your blood. This is called sepsis or “blood poisoning.” A sepsis infection can travel all throughout your body. If the infection reaches this stage, the likelihood of serious complications (including death) rises.

How Is Cellulitis Treated?

As soon as you seek treatment, medical staff will administer an antibiotic and draw blood cultures. Once the lab tests are complete, they may change the antibiotic to one which works for the specific bacteria they isolated. If the pain is severe, medication may be prescribed. But if you suffer from an opioid addiction, it’s important you relay this information to your provider. Cellulitis_Cellulitis

It’s important to get ample rest and drink a lot of fluids during this time, to help your immune system regain its strength. If you’re able, raise the infected area over your heart to help keep the swelling at bay. If your cellulitis led to a more advanced infection, more intensive measures may be necessary.

Take Over Your Health Today

The best way to avoid future IV drug-related infections is by getting sober. Good treatment programs will address your physical, mental, and emotional health needs, so that you can build a solid recovery. can help you find a program to support you on this journey. Contact us now.

If you or a loved one are abusing drugs through injection, contact us today!

For More Information Related to “Cellulitis From Intravenous (IV) Drug Use” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From



Harm Reduction International — 3.3: Neglected infections, real harms: A global scoping of injection-related bacterial infections and responses
Oxford Academic — High Prevalence of Abscesses and Cellulitis Among Community-Recruited Injection Drug Users in San Francisco
Sepsis Alliance — Sepsis and Cellulitis

Risks Associated with Snorting Heroin (Insufflation) Risks Associated with Snorting Heroin

Why Are Some Drugs Snorted?

Snorting drugs, also known as insufflation, has been around for centuries. Hundreds of years ago, North American native cultures ground tobacco leaves into a fine powder called snuff in order to snort the drug instead of smoke it. Their reasoning was simple – snorting the drug caused them to feel the effects almost immediately.

The nasal passageways in your nose contain hundreds of tiny blood vessels that are close to the surface. This is one of the reasons your nose bleeds so easily compared to other areas covered with skin. When a drug is snorted, the fine powder is absorbed by these blood vessels and enter the bloodstream instantly, causing an almost immediate high. Risks Associated with Snorting Heroin_Forms Of HeroinWhile this immediate high may draw some individuals to insufflation, there are many dangers associated with it. Permanent damage can be caused to nasal passageways after prolonged use, as well as an increased risk of contracting bloodborne diseases such as Hepatitis C through those thin blood vessels.

Repeated insufflation will also cause nasal passageways to produce more mucous to protect blood vessels, resulting in a ‘tolerance’ effect. Increased mucous can decrease a drug’s effectiveness, which can potentially cause an individual to increase their dose to a fatal level.

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is in the classification of drugs known as opioids. It is derived from a substance known as morphine, which is harvested from the Asian opium poppy plant in a process that removes the natural sap from the seed pod of the plant. Risks Associated with Snorting Heroin_Morphine Poppy PlantAlthough the morphine concentrate is considered a natural substance, it is combined with many dangerous chemicals to produce the final product of heroin. This process, and the final product, are anything but natural.

The final heroin product can come in many varieties, including white or brown powder or a black, tar-like substance. Heroin can be introduced into the human body through various methods including smoking, injecting (shooting), or snorting (insufflation). Each method can produce a variation of the high, but all have a high risk for addiction.

Snorting vs Shooting Heroin

With the ongoing opioid epidemic that is hitting the United States right now, heroin addiction is more prevalent now than it has been in decades. Specifically speaking in terms of new heroin users, this number has doubled from 2005 to 2012. In 2010 alone there were 2,789 heroin overdoses that resulted in death, a number that has doubled since the previous decade. Risks Associated with Snorting Heroin_Heroin OverdosesWith this shift in heroin users, hospitals and rehab facilities are seeing more and more suburban housewives, successful businessmen, and many young teens suffering from addiction and overdoses. There has also been a noticeable shift in the method of taking heroin, with more young adults and teens reporting snorting the drug than have in the past.

For many, the act of snorting heroin seems safer than injecting or shooting it. Widespread campaigns demonstrating the dangers of sharing needles and contracting bloodborne diseases have been partially responsible for this shift. For others, the act of injecting a drug intravenously is a big leap and snorting doesn’t fit the drug stereotype as much.

Regardless of an individual’s reasoning for shooting or snorting heroin, both methods are extremely dangerous and can result in addiction after just one dose. Snorting heroin can also cause the contraction of blood borne diseases through the thin membranes in the nose, making it just as dangerous as shooting.

Signs Of Heroin Abuse

The signs and symptoms of snorting heroin can appear immediately in an individual. Insufflation delivers the dose of heroin directly to the bloodstream through membranes in the nasal passageway causing an almost immediate high. If you suspect a loved one is high on heroin, look for the following signs:

  • Hallucinations
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Confusion
  • Low respiration (breathing) rate
  • Low heart rate
  • Constipation
  • Loss of consciousness

Prolonged use of heroin can be extremely hard on the body. As heroin use continues, the body will naturally build a tolerance to the drug. This tolerance can cause an increase in the dose or frequency an individually will take heroin, increasing the risks that come along with it.

Outside of the risk of fatal overdose and addiction, other long-term signs of heroin abuse include:

  • Infection of nasal passageways
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Liver and kidney failure or disease
  • Heart complications
  • Increased anger or agitation with normal stimulus
  • Lung infections and diseases
  • Collapsed veins
  • Inability to regulate behavior

Get Help

If you or a loved one is suffering from heroin abuse in any form, you are not alone. This is a growing epidemic in the United States that is affecting millions of people regardless of race, gender, profession, class, or culture.

Heroin is an extremely addictive drug with harsh withdrawal effects. Quitting cold turkey can be difficult and even dangerous. With heroin addiction, seeking professional help is the best answer. Call our addiction specialists today to discuss customized treatment options for yourself or your loved one.

If you or a loved one are struggling with a heroin addiction, contact us now!

For More Information Related to “Risks Associated with Snorting Heroin (Insufflation)” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From



National Institute on Drug Abuse – America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse
PBS – Transforming Opium Poppies into Heroin
National Institute on Drug Abuse – What is Heroin?
Hindawi – The Destructive Capacity of Drug Abuse: An Overview Exploring the Harmful Potential of Drug Abuse Both to the Individual and to Society

Sepsis From Intravenous (IV) Drug Use Sepsis From Intravenous (IV) Drug Use

While drug abuse of any kind can be dangerous, certain routes of administration can cause greater damage than others. Intravenous drug use, the act of injecting a water-soluble drug into one’s body, is one of the most invasive and dangerous ways an individual can administer a drug. Through continued use and repeated trauma to the injection site, IV drug abuse leads to many hazardous health effects, including sepsis.

What Is Sepsis? Sepsis From Intravenous (IV) Drug Use Chemicals Release

While many people think sepsis is an infection itself, it’s actually a complication caused by an infection. As explained by Mayo Clinic, “sepsis occurs when chemicals are released into the bloodstream to fight the infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body.”

The type of infection which can cause sepsis varies. Sepsis is most heavily linked to bacteria, though certain forms of fungus or viruses may also cause it. Sepsis is commonly referred to as “blood poisoning,” as the bacteria or toxins produced by them overtake the bloodstream.

What Are The Stages Of Sepsis?

Mayo Clinic explains that sepsis is typically broken down into three stages:


Sepsis is diagnosed only when there is reasonable suspicion or verification of an infection, in addition to two of the following symptoms:

  • Body temperature above 101 F (38.3 C) or below 96.8 F (36 C)
  • Heart rate higher than 90 beats a minute
  • Respiratory rate higher than 20 breaths a minute

Severe Sepsis

Within this state, a person must have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Improperly working heart
  • Respiratory (breathing) struggles
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Platelet count begins falling
  • Rapidly altered mental states
  • Urine production drastically drops

Any of these symptoms indicate potential organ failure.

Septic Shock

As a person’s condition advances to this state, they will display the above signs and symptoms. But, in order to qualify as septic shock, a person’s blood pressure must remain low despite attempts to increase it with fluid replacement.

Sepsis becomes more dangerous as it progresses through these stages. To avoid the greatest danger, treatment should begin as early as possible.

How Does IV Drug Use Cause Sepsis?

Intravenous drug use can introduce numerous toxins and pathogens into a person’s veins and body at large, which pave the way for infection. Pathogens include bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Staphyloccus aureus, or MRSA as it’s better known to most of us, is the bacteria most frequently responsible for IV drug infections.

Transmission of these pathogens often occurs due to improper and unhygienic handling of needles. As a person becomes addicted, the need to use becomes so intense that they disregard their health. Because of this, some users share needles. This behavior increases the risk that a pathogen will be transmitted by blood-to-blood contact. Sepsis From Intravenous (IV) Drug Use Some Users Share Needles

Even if you never share needles, you could still be at risk. Far too many drug abusers repeatedly use the same syringe. Doing so allows bacteria to grow on the needle, which could then be transmitted into your tissue and blood. Even with new needles, a person can still get an infection if they don’t properly clean the injection site. Research has found that bacteria from a person’s skin presents a greater risk than that which is present on shared needles.

Intravenous injection requires a vein, which leaves drug abusers with only so many options. Because of this, many users will repeatedly inject at the same site. This can create abscesses, track marks, or ulcers, all of which can lead to serious infection. Sometimes, a user will actually miss the vein and inject the drug into their muscle or right under the skin, raising the risk of infection in these regions. Lastly, it’s suspected that using black tar heroin increases a user’s risk of infection.

What Types Of IV Drug-Related Illness Or Disease Cause Sepsis?

Intravenous drug abuse causes a range of infections, many of which can become deadly. One of the biggest reasons why these infections endanger a person’s life is because they cause sepsis.

The following infections can lead to sepsis:

Cellulitis: This infection affects both the skin and underlying tissue, and can spread outwards across the limb.

Endocarditis: This occurs when bacteria, fungus, or viruses cause an infection within your heart’s inner lining and valves.

Necrotizing fasciitis: Often referred to as the “flesh-eating disease,” this rare but serious infection is extremely aggressive and causes your body’s soft tissues to die.

Whether you inject sporadically or chronically, you’re exposing yourself to danger. While it’s true that prolonged and chronic use increases your risk over time, it is possible to contract an infection from even one use.

What Are The Complications And Dangers Of Sepsis? Sepsis From Intravenous (IV) Drug Use Poisions Your Blood

Sepsis poisons your blood and body. The more time that passes without treatment, the greater the risk of complications and fatality. Sepsis can become so severe that your organs struggle to function properly. This can lead to organ damage and/or failure. Combined with the dangers of the infections themselves, these effects even further increase the risk of death.

A person’s veins can become septic and develop blood clots, inflammation, and bacteria throughout. Injecting into the jugular or other central veins increases this risk. These states could develop into sepsis and septic emboli (bacteria and pus-filled embolisms), both of which can be life-threatening conditions.

As outlined by the Sepsis Alliance, individuals who recover from sepsis often face serious long-term effects, such as:

  • Amputated limbs
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Organ dysfunction

How Is Sepsis Treated?

If you suspect you have or are developing sepsis, seek medical help immediately. Left untreated, sepsis can progress rapidly to the point of threatening your life. As soon as you seek treatment, medical staff will likely administer a broad-spectrum antibiotic. This medication can address various types of infection and the bacteria which cause them. Once tests determine the specific bacteria, a more focused antibiotic may be used.

Through these stages, Mayo writes that other treatments may be initiated, such as:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Drugs to stabilize the immune system
  • Insulin (to stabilize blood sugar)
  • IV fluids
  • Oxygen
  • Painkillers (staff should proceed accordingly with opioid-addicted individuals)
  • Sedatives
  • Vasopressor medication to raise blood pressure

Advanced stages of sepsis may require:

  • Breathing support
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Surgery

Mayo Clinic cautions that “people with severe sepsis require close monitoring and treatment in a hospital intensive care unit. If you have severe sepsis or septic shock, lifesaving measures may be needed to stabilize breathing and heart function.”

While sepsis can be treated, we urge you to consider preventative measures to avoid this risk. Effective drug rehab can help you to overcome your IV drug addiction. Here you’ll encounter counseling, behavioral therapies, and if needed, medication-assisted treatment. Along with other dynamic modalities, these things can help you overcome your addiction.

Don’t Let IV Drug Abuse Destroy Your Health Or Claim Your Life

Contact today if your or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Our treatment specialists can help find a program that is tailored to your needs. If you suspect that yourself or a loved one may have sepsis or another serious infection as a result of intravenous drug use contact your doctor or go to a hospital immediately.

If you or a loved one are struggling with a heroin addiction, contact us now!

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Cotton Fever From IV Drug Use Cotton Fever From IV Drug Use

When an intravenous (IV) injection drug user prepares their drug of choice, they may have to filter the substance before they fill the syringe with it. To do this, many people use makeshift filters made from cigarette filters or cotton balls. The latter material is associated with causing a flu-like illness marked by fever. Many IV drug abusers refer to this as “cotton fever.” Cotton fever hits a user 15 to 30 minutes after injection, with symptoms typically subsiding in 12 hours.

What Is Intravenous Drug Use?

People inject drugs a number of ways. The most common way is by injecting the substance directly into the vein. Many users prefer IV drug injection because it causes the most rapid effect. To do this, a person dilutes or liquefies the drug, often by heating it. After the drug becomes liquid, it’s then loaded into the syringe. Certain drugs must be filtered before this step can occur, due to the number of impurities in the substance. This is a common practice with heroin. Cotton Fever From IV Drug Use 15 To 30 MinutesAgain, cotton balls are commonly used for this purpose since they are so cheap and readily available. Once a drug is in liquid form, a person draws the substance through the filter and into the syringe. The forearm is a primary injection site for many users, however, other locations may also be used to “shoot up” or inject the drug.

What Is Cotton Fever?

Heroin is most closely associated with cotton fever. But a Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM) article notes that hydromophone or a combination of pentazocine and methylphenidate have also been linked to the condition. The article continues, reporting that “injection drug users estimate the incidence of cotton fever to about 5 % per year of use.”

Unlike many of the other medical risks associated with IV drug abuse, cotton fever is considered to be a benign syndrome. This means that the condition doesn’t become severe or life-threatening over time, even without treatment (though certain medications can be used to alleviate symptoms). Cotton fever also resolves on its own, with symptoms typically dissipating in six to twelve hours. More severe cases may last one to two days. But this does not mean that you shouldn’t seek treatment.

Intravenous drug use is associated with a host of illnesses and disease. Many of these, like cellulitis, endocarditis, and even pneumonia can cause symptoms which are similar to cotton fever. This similarity can cause two problems.

Cotton fever can be overlooked or misdiagnosed, leading to unnecessary and prolonged medical care. The JGIM article comments on this, noting that “The importance of recognizing cotton fever is paramount, as early suspicion may reduce expensive secondary evaluations and the length of hospitalization.” Cotton Fever From IV Drug Use The Importance Of

Secondly, other illnesses could be misdiagnosed as cotton fever. While this is fairly rare in a medical setting, it’s important that other more serious conditions are ruled out by with appropriate testing. Also, some users may be quick to think their symptoms are only cotton fever and fail to seek medical help. Should these symptoms be tied to a different condition, a person could greatly be jeopardizing their health or even life. Without the proper treatment, certain other IV-related conditions can become quite dangerous or even deadly.

What Are The Symptoms Of Cotton Fever?

Symptoms of cotton fever hit quickly and often occur as soon as 15 or 20 minutes after using the drug. As we noted, cotton fever resembles the flu, with symptoms including:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormally fast heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Chills
  • Elevated white blood cell count (leukocytosis)
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Mild distress
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting

According to the article “Cotton Fever: A Condition Self-Diagnosed by IV Drug Users” a patient may meet systemic inflammatory response syndrome criteria, a set of symptoms which include many of the above. These criteria could point to an underlying infection. For this reason, sepsis or other infections should be ruled out.

What Causes Cotton Fever?

While the IV drug user community has long been familiar with cotton fever, medical research is still somewhat sparse on the subject. Researchers and medical professionals are still not entirely sure what causes it.

Any contact with cotton as a drug filter is suspected, but another practice is thought to increase the risk. When a person becomes addicted to a drug, they experience an intense need to use it. Because of this, they will often go to great lengths to find the drug and will even do so in ways which could become harmful to their health. Some users report trying to extract the drug from used cotton balls when they can’t find heroin any other way. This practice has been coined “shooting the cottons.” After sitting out for some time, these cotton balls could harbor bacteria or other pathogens.

Beyond this, the aforementioned article does propose three theories which discuss possible explanations of why this cotton fever occurs: Cotton Fever From IV Drug Use Shooting the CottonsImmunologic theory: Users have antibodies for the cotton which cause a reaction after injection

Pharmacologic theory: When the drug enters a person’s bloodstream it contains substances from the cotton which cause fever (pyrogenic substances). These substances are water-soluble, so the liquid form of the drug has a tendency to dissolve them.

Endotoxin theory: Certain Gram-negative bacteria live on the cotton plant. These bacteria produce an endotoxin which is carried through to drug and subsequently to the patient, causing fever. Blood cultures do support this theory, as certain bacteria have been found in the used cotton which was linked to the illness.

The latter theory appears to be recognized as the most probable, and the JGIM article asserts that “no evidence has been found to support the immunologic or pharmacologic theory.” Even though cotton fever will resolve on its own, it’s still important you seek medical help to confirm that this is the correct diagnosis.

How Is Cotton Fever Treated?

When a patient is first admitted or examined for cotton fever, blood tests and cultures should be done. While waiting for these results, broad-spectrum antibiotics may be administered in case the symptoms are caused by another more serious condition. Depending on the severity of the person’s substance use disorder, they may require withdrawal management during this time.

Certain over-the-counter medications may be administered to control the fever, muscle aches, nausea, and/or vomiting. If a person has become severely dehydrated they may also receive IV fluids.

Like any other illness or disease caused by IV drug use, cotton fever can be avoided. Good drug addiction treatment can help a person achieve sobriety and learn how to live a fulfilling drug-free life.

Live A Healthier Drug-Free Life

Heroin and other drugs which are injected are highly addictive. These addictions can be very hard to beat on your own. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this alone.’s compassionate staff can help you to set treatment goals and begin building a plan to obtain them. We have access to phenomenal treatment programs all across the nation. Contact us now for help.

For more information, call now!

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What Are Track Marks? What Are Track Marks_

Injection drug abuse is one of the most dangerous ways of administering a drug. Intravenous injection delivers the drug rapidly into your system, creating what is nearly an immediate and very intense high. Because of this, it’s the most popular way to inject a drug.

What Is Intravenous (IV) Drug Use?

Injection drug use means simply that the drug is administered through a needle or syringe. It doesn’t always mean that the drug is injected into your vein. Some users choose to inject the drug into their muscle or just below their skin, whereas others shoot it directly into their bloodstream. The latter method is referred to as intravenous or IV drug use. What Are Track Marks_LocationsThe most frequently used veins are those in the crook of the forearm, though other locations may be used. If a person injects into their arm, it’s typically the one opposite from the hand they write with. This makes it easier for them to inject the drug themselves. To work around this, some people may have a fellow drug abuser inject the substance for them into their dominant arm.

There are other locations which may also be used, including the hand, foot, groin, or leg. Some individuals choose different sites so that they can more easily hide the track marks. Others may be forced to move to a new location once their primary site becomes too inflamed or scarred to continue injecting in.

Once the drug of choice is loaded into the syringe, the user selects a vein for entry. Now they “tie off” near the location for injection. To do this, a belt, rubber tubing, or other strap-like item is tied tightly around their arm. This is called a tourniquet or “tie.” This causes the vein to swell, making it easier to inject the needle into. As soon as the needle is in the vein, the tourniquet is removed. Failure to do so can cause even more complications.

What Types Of Drugs Are Injected?

Many drugs of abuse can be administered more than one way, including by IV injection. Commonly injected drugs include:

Some, like cocaine and heroin, are frequently abused together. This is called a speedball. Across the US, there are increasing reports of potent opioids being mixed with cocaine and heroin. Injecting any of these drugs, either alone or in combination, is very dangerous and can lead to a fatal outcome.

What Causes Track Marks?

Track marks are the scars which remain after a person shoots up a drug. These marks are caused by:

Chronic Abuse: Prolonged and repeated use at the same injection site increases the odds of a track mark developing. Over time, as a person continuously injects in the same spot, the vein becomes damaged and scars build up. What Are Track Marks_Causes

Old Needles: If a person keeps on using the same needle, the tip will become blunted and dull. Upon injection, this places excess pressure on the vein and damages it even more.

Impure Drugs: It’s very rare to find a pure drug on the street. Instead, the majority of illicit drugs have some form of contamination. These impurities may result from poor manufacturing processes or because the drug was purposely adulterated or “cut” with other substances. The build up of these toxins is often responsible for the darker color of the track mark.

What Do Track Marks Look Like?

Track marks are often the most tell-tale signs that a person is an IV drug abuser. Technically speaking, as we’ve explained, a track mark is a scar. However, due to the fact that many IV drug users engage in chronic substance abuse, the appearance of these marks may vary. Track marks look different depending on what stage of healing they’re in. What this means is that some people may have fresh marks layered upon or alongside of older scars.

Recent marks: These lesions may look fresh, having not yet had time to heal. Shortly after injection, they may appear as puncture marks, scabs, or bruises.

Older marks: As drug use progresses, the skin may crack, bleed, and even become infected. Track marks and scarring run the length of the vein and appear slightly raised and discolored (darker) in comparison to the rest of the skin.

Drug abusers often try to hide these marks by wearing long sleeves (even in warm weather) or even by getting tattoos over the injection site.

Track marks don’t necessarily go away once you’ve stopped abusing drugs. Medscape cites a study which found that 53 percent of former IV drug abusers had visible scars after five years. This isn’t the only serious concern associated with IV drug injection.

Are There Other Dangers Of IV Drug Use?

Track marks are only one type of damage which can occur to a person’s skin, tissues, and organs from IV drug use. Additionally, a person could also develop:

  • Abscesses
  • Bacterial, fungal, and/or viral infections
  • Cardiac complications
  • Cellulitis
  • Collapsed veins
  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots form in your veins)
  • Necrotizing fasciitis “flesh eating disease”
  • Organ damage What Are Track Marks_ScarsInjection drug users face increased risk of blood-borne infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C.

Intravenous drug abuse requires intensive treatment. Due to the number of serious medical complications associated with IV abuse, many users need comprehensive medical care prior to, and during, treatment. Any underlying infections or diseases must be properly cared for. Wound care, antibiotics, and/or other medications or procedures may be administered to facilitate healing. Once any acute complications are addressed and a person is stabilized, they may then continue to drug addiction treatment.

How To Overcome IV Drug Addiction

Certain drugs, like heroin and prescription opioids, typically require detoxification prior to treatment. Many inpatient drug rehabs offer detox services at their facilities. After detox is completed, a person progresses into the treatment program.

These programs utilize counseling, behavioral therapies, and a wide variety of other modalities to treat the root of a person’s addiction. In order to combat the temptation of future drug use, relapse prevention techniques will also be taught. Combined, these elements work towards preparing you or your loved one for a more stable and healthy drug-free life.

Protect Your Body And Mind

Drug abuse and addiction don’t have to rule your life. The right treatment can help you regain control over your life and health. can help you to begin building a drug-free life, so that you can achieve these goals. Our caring staff can help you find the treatment program which is best for your unique needs. Contact us now.

For more information on intervention and what it entails, call now!

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Signs Of IV Drug Use Signs Of IV Drug Use

Intravenous, or IV drug use is the most common form of injection drug use. Users liquify and inject various drugs of abuse directly into their veins. The IV method requires certain tools called paraphernalia. These items can make this dangerous habit easier to spot. Over time, the drug user will begin to exhibit physical symptoms of IV drug use, such as scarred or collapsed veins. This method is highly dangerous, and can lead to addiction, disease (HIV/AIDS), coma, overdose, and death.

At a certain point in time, drug use can be surprisingly easy to hide. As use persists, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to cover up the signs of abuse. This is especially true with IV drug use, due to the method’s highly invasive nature.

What Types Of Drugs Do People Inject Intravenously?

While heroin is the most notorious drug used this way, you may be surprised to learn that drug abusers administer a wide variety of other drugs by this method. Cocaine (including crack), methamphetamine, and morphine are also frequently abused this way. Combining cocaine and heroin, or “speedballing,” is a common practice with recreational drug users. Signs Of IV Drug Use Opioid Drug

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) writes that the following drugs of abuse are also injected:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Bath salts (synthetic cathinones)
  • DMT
  • Flakka
  • Ketamine
  • PCP

Additionally, and quite dangerously, a variety of prescription drugs are also used this way. Most of these medications come in a pill or tablet form which requires users to crush and liquify the drug.

Every form of opioid drug used in painkillers was listed by NIDA as being abused by injection. Examples include:

  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)

Certain sedatives are also injected, such as:

Prescription stimulants, such as those used to treat ADHD, are frequently abused this way, including:

  • Amphetamine (Adderall)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)

With the rise of prescription drug abuse, commonly abused medications are increasingly being manufactured with safeguards in place. These are designed to deter abuse by injection by making it more difficult.

What Are The Behavioral Cues Of IV Drug Use?

The general behavioral cues of IV drug abuse and addiction will be similar and may include a person:

  • Becoming evasive or upset if you ask about drug use
  • Being unable to stop or limit drug use
  • Going out of their way to find and use the drug
  • Experiencing intense urges or cravings to use the drug
  • Ignoring important responsibilities at work or school
  • Losing interest in their favorite things
  • Needing more of the drug than before to feel good (tolerance)
  • Pushing people away and/or suddenly having new “friends” (fellow drug users)
  • Spending money they can’t afford on the drug
  • Thinking or talking excessively about the substance
  • Hoarding, hiding, or stealing the drug
  • Doctor shopping to procure more of the drug (in the case of prescription medications)
  • Wearing long sleeves to cover up track marks even in warm weather

Despite being administered the same way, each drug of abuse has a different method of action. Because of this, physical and mental signs of abuse will vary. Drugs within the same class, such as opioids, will closely mimic each other. But on the other hand, stimulants such as cocaine would create a quite different impact in comparison to the depressant effects of an opioid.

What Is Drug Paraphernalia? Signs Of IV Drug Use Different MethodWhen a drug abuser injects a drug, they need certain equipment. These items are collectively termed paraphernalia. Finding these objects can be a telltale sign that a person is engaging in IV drug use. The most obvious one would be a syringe (insulin syringes are frequently used). You might also find pill bottles, baggies, or balloons which contained the drugs.

It can be hard for a person to inject into the vein on their own. For this reason, some people choose to modify the syringe. If this occurs, they may replace the plunger with a bulb, such as those from an eyedropper or baby pacifier.

Paraphernalia may include:

  • Alcohol swabs to sterilize the injection site.
  • Material to filter the liquidized drug through (cigarette filters, cotton balls, or sterile filters which are made for this purpose).
  • Hard surface with powdery residue on it (from crushing and cutting pills). Mirrors are often used and may be in a strange place like on a bed or on the floor.
  • Razor blades (used to do the above).
  • An acidic agent (lemon juice, citric acid, or Vitamin C). These are used to help dissolve certain drugs.
  • A spoon or pop can for “cooking” or liquefying the drug. It may appear burnt.
  • A lighter used for heating the drug.
  • A tourniquet, such as a piece of rubbing tubing or a belt. These are used to enlarge the vein and make it more pronounced for injection.
  • Though more rare, some people may keep a “sharps bin” (a container for used needles) on hand.

Typically a person keeps these items all together in a kit. This may be a small box or bag. It is usually hidden out of sight, such as under the bed, in the closet, etc.

Be very careful when you’re touching these objects. In fact, we recommend that you not touch the items inside of the kit for any reason unless you absolutely have to. Injection needles can carry serious diseases. Also, certain drugs, especially those mixed with heroin, are so toxic and potent that they can absorb through the skin. This can lead to overdose and even death.

What Are The Physical Signs Of IV Drug Use?

Again, injecting a drug directly into your vein is very invasive. People most commonly inject into their forearm, however, users may also choose locations on their legs, neck, hands, feet, and groin. Soon after use, unhealed needle marks, scabs, or bruising may be evident.

Over time, a person’s skin and veins can become scarred, inflamed, and infected. They may even develop abscesses or ulcers. Receptively injecting a drug into the same site can cause vascular scarring. This is referred to as a “track mark.” Signs Of IV Drug Use Toxic And Potent

Infections can become severe and lead to cellulitis or necrotizing fasciitis, which is sometimes referred to as a “flesh-eating disease.” In both, the skin will become red, swollen, and warm. Cellulitis may make skin appear taut and glossy. In the latter, patches of skin may become dark as tissues begin to die. Both conditions are serious and require prompt medical treatment.

According to Journal of Clinical & Experimental Dermatology Research, users sometimes heat their needles just prior to injection. This leaves a dark, sooty residue at the injection site, referred to as a “sooting tattoo.” The article asserts that some people will actually get an inked tattoo to cover this up. This practice is used to hide the damage from injection sites in general.

If You See Signs Of IV Drug Abuse, Get Help

If you witness a combination of any of these signs within your loved one, be on guard: they could be abusing drugs. Don’t ignore these signs. The earlier you’re able to support them in making steps towards treatment, the better. We can help you with this. can give you more information on specific drugs of abuse and the best treatment centers for them. Reach out to one of our treatment specialists and let us help you today.

For more information, call now!

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Consequences Of Injecting OxyContin (Oxycodone) Injecting Oxy_

What Happens When You Inject OxyContin?

There are many ways to abuse drugs.When you’ve fallen victim to addiction, the fastest way to attain a high is usually the one you seek. Injecting is one of the quickest ways to get high. Administering drugs through injection into the muscle or directly to the bloodstream ensures quick results—the “rush” feeling.

Many prescription drugs like OxyContin (oxycodone) are designed for a slow release of effects. Injecting OxyContin allows you to skip the waiting period, producing an immediate rush. Unfortunately, abusing the drug in this way also comes with consequences. Injecting Oxy_2 million

As the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) explains, when abusing OxyContin, “the risk of an overdose increases dramatically since the drug is not intended to be used in this manner.” Also, many who abuse it may pair it with abuse of other substances like alcohol, which can be a dangerous combination.

But these negative outcomes aren’t the only adverse effects. Injection of any drugs can cause you health risks, and addiction to prescription drugs like OxyContin can affect your health and other aspects of your life.

What Are The Risks?

Some risks of abuse by injection include:

  • Bacteria on the cardiac valves
  • Cardiovascular infections
  • Damage to veins: collapsed or inflamed veins
  • Puncture marks or track lines at the injection sites
  • Infections of the skin, such as abscesses or cellulitis
  • Swelling in feet, legs, and/or arms due to poor blood flow

What Are The Signs Of Addiction?

OxyContin is the brand for Oxycodone, which is a prescription opioid. Opioid prescriptions are used to treat moderate to severe pain, and many of these drugs are highly addictive. OxyContin is no exception. In fact, like other opioids, it is typically prescribed only for a short time to help avoid abuse.

However, even if you take the drug for only a short period of time, you can develop addiction to it. Here are some signs to look for if you suspect you may be falling into addiction:

  • You take the drug more often than prescribed
  • You change the method of administration to get quicker results (such as crushing the tablets and injecting instead of taking orally)
  • You experience strong cravings for the drug
  • You can’t get the same effects from one dosage, and start taking more (tolerance)
  • You experience physical side effects when you aren’t taking the drug (withdrawal)

While addiction may be avoided if taking a prescription drug exactly as prescribed, the possibility of becoming addicted to the effects of opioids is high. It’s important that we all take part in fighting prescription drug abuse: following directions for prescriptions, not sharing our medications, making sure we know the risks associated with our medications, and more.

For those who need help with addiction, treatment for opioid abuse is available, and has proven to be effective. Treatment is the single best way to safeguard against continued drug abuse and the effects it can have on your life.

Where Do People Get OxyContin?

OxyContin is a prescription pain reliever; in short it has to be prescribed. This is where many of us can become susceptible to the dangers of addictive prescriptions. We don’t always realize the risks of medications because we assume they are intended to help us get better. Injecting Oxy_Women

Many medications can be helpful. Opioids can be the only relief for people experiencing severe pain and ailments. But they can also be harmful when abused, and if you aren’t aware of the dangers it can be all too easy to fall into abuse.

Prescription Opioid Abuse

Prescription opioid abuse is a problem that has expanded in recent years. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that over 2 million people abuse prescription opioids in the United States. Globally, abuse of opioids (the larger group of opiates which includes prescription opioids and illicit drugs like heroin) affects anywhere from 24 to 36 million.

Opioids affect the brain by attaching to opioid receptors and changing the way our brains respond to pain. The brain adapts to this new way of responding to pain, and begins seeking these results again and again through cravings.

Once you have become addicted, you may find you experience withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug. Some withdrawal symptoms are moderate, but others may be severe enough that you don’t want to be without the drug. Withdrawal is what keeps many addicted, along with tolerance.

Tolerance happens when your brain no longer responds to the drug like it used to. While your brain may not feel the effects, your body can only process so much of the drug at a time. It’s in this way that you risk overdose. Forcing too much of a drug on your body or forcing the drug to work more quickly or differently than it should is dangerous, and can be fatal.

Who Is Affected?

Perhaps it seems like we should have prescription opioid abuse under control, but the truth is we simply don’t. The NIDA explains that in 2012 more than five percent of the population ages 12 and above reported non-medical use of prescription opioids. Injecting Oxy_5%

Teens may be at increased risk simply because they can easily gain access to prescriptions through family members or friends. Women also are more likely to have chronic pain, get prescriptions for pain relievers, and subsequently abuse or develop addiction to those medications.

What Can We Do About Prescription Opioid Abuse?

There are a few measures we can all take to prevent prescription opioid abuse, both for ourselves and others. First, always take medications only as prescribed, never increasing dosage or method of administration without talking with a doctor.

We can also keep medications in a secure place, and keep track of the dosage to be sure no one else is using them. Lastly, we can work to inform teens and children of the dangers of prescription drug abuse, opening conversations to share information and discuss safe medication practices.

If you or someone close to you is struggling with prescription opioid abuse, you can find the help you need in treatment. We at are here to assist you on this journey, and make the transition to healing as easy as possible.

Treatment Options

There are many different methods of treatment at your disposal when you are ready to take that first step and enter a rehabilitation center. Opioid addiction treatment first requires detoxification, which allows your body to dispose of the chemicals acquired during abuse.

Our rehab centers offer medically supervised detoxification to help you succeed in this process. They may also implement medication assisted therapy to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal. After detox, you can begin therapy, counseling, and any combination of methods that are right for your individual needs.

Our rehab centers will work with you, designing treatment goals that meet your specific needs. Just a few of the evidence-based methods we offer include:

Find The Help You Need

If you have been struggling with injecting OxyContin, then you already know it can be hard to stop abuse. We want to help you put this difficult time behind you, and begin a new part of your life. Contact us today at to learn more about prescription opioid abuse, our renowned rehab centers, and the best treatment options for you.

If you or a loved one are struggling with an OxyContin or prescription drug addiction, contact us now!

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Drug Free World—OxyContin The “Hillbilly Heroin”
Mayo Clinic—Oxycodone (Oral Route): Side Effects
U.S. Food And Drug Administration—OxyContin Questions And Answers

Consequences of Injecting Drugs Consequences of Injecting Drugs

Injecting drugs can lead to HIV, Hepatitis C, addiction, ligament amputation, substance abuse disorders, withdrawal, and death. These consequences are painful for loved ones, and the person using the drug. Though some drugs can be used by smoking and snorting, injection is the fastest way to get the effects of the drug is into the bloodstream. 12 million people inject drugs worldwide, some continue living with addiction and can die, but some choose the easier route, and seek treatment.

What Is Injecting Drugs? Consequences of Injecting Drugs Twelve MillionInjecting drugs is the act of putting a drug, in liquid form, right into the bloodstream to achieve the effects of the drug–this is done using a hypodermic needle and syringe or another source of injection. The most common street drug used for injection, or “shooting up”, is heroin, which is an opioid drug derived from the Asian opium plant and converted to morphine once in the body. There are a variety of different drugs that can be injected to the bloodstream–some of these drugs used may not be commonly associated with addiction and injection.

What Drugs Can Be Injected?

A person using drugs can inject the following substances intravenously:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Ketamine
  • PCP
  • Anabolic Steroids
  • Ecstasy
  • Suboxone
  • Amphetamines
  • Methamphetamines
  • MDMA
  • Cocaine and Heroin Mixture (Speedball)

Injecting drugs has a number of consequences and can cause death, HIV, Hepatitis C (HCV), amputation, drug withdrawal, and high blood pressure. Without proper treatment, a person addicted to a drug can be in serious danger. Sometimes there is nothing but intervention and professional medical treatment to keep a drug user safe.

Consequences Of Injecting Heroin

Injecting heroin can lead to a number of unwanted effects which are usually unavoidable by a person who chronically uses the drug. A chronic heroin user will become dependent on the drug, and their body and mind grow accustomed to its presence and the high associated with it.. Without the drug, a person will experience a withdrawal. Drug withdrawal can sometimes be the biggest fear of a person suffering from heroin addiction. Injecting heroin can lead to itching, collapsed veins, pneumonia, nausea, constipation, and infection. The initial high from heroin is what brings people back, but if a person becomes addicted, they don’t know how to stop even when they want to. Injecting heroin often leads to overdose, coma, and death.

Consequences Of Injecting Cocaine Consequences of Injecting Drugs Lead To DeathThe fastest way to get the effects of drug into the blood is to inject it into the bloodstream, and though cocaine is most commonly associated with snorting or smoking, there are some users who prefer to shoot it up. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a person who regularly uses cocaine can experience “infection and death of bowel tissue from decreased blood flow; poor nutrition and weight loss from decreased appetite.” Cocaine is more likely to lead to death from overdose when paired with alcohol. Some of the withdrawal symptoms may include, but are not limited to, depression, slowed thinking, faster heart rate, and insomnia.

Consequences Of Injecting Ketamine

Ketamine is a drug used for veterinarian practice, but for humans it can lead to hallucinations and a dreamlike state. Though it can be used to get high, Ketamine or “Special K” can also be used as a “date rape” drug. As described by the NIDA, Ketamine can lead to health problems like loss of memory, problems moving, unconsciousness, ulcers, kidney problems, stomach pain, and slow breathing which can lead to death.

Consequences Of Injecting Anabolic Steroids

Along with the various consequences of injecting drugs (see: Health Related Issues Of Injecting Drugs), Anabolic Steroids, which are typically used for medicine, come with a large list of health consequences. Steroids can be used in medicine to cure disease or inflammation, but a person can also abuse them for speeding up the process of building muscle tissue. When used improperly, anabolic steroids can lead to delusion, stunted growth, heart attack, muscle development problems, or liver cancer. Steroids can also make a person overly aggressive. Along with these various health consequences, injecting steroids can cause unwanted side effects in both men and women:

Anabolic Steroids And Men

  • Infertility
  • Breast Development
  • Shrinking of Testicals
  • Male Pattern Baldness

Anabolic Steroids And Women

  • Enlargement of Clitoris
  • Excessive Growth of Body Hair
  • Male Pattern Baldness

Other Health Related Issues Of Injecting Drugs Consequences of Injecting Drugs SymptomsAccording to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, habitual users of injecting drugs may experience other consequences of using the drug:

  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome NAS – when a baby is born with a drug addiction, he or she is forced to be hospitalized. If a mother uses heroin or other drugs during pregnancy, there is nothing keeping the baby safe from addiction to the drug.
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus HIV – an incurable disease which can inhibit a body’s ability to fight infections. One of the most common causes of HIV is unprotected sex, but because HIV is transmitted through contact of blood and bodily fluids, it is often associated with sharing needles.
  • Hepatitis C HVC – is a virus associated with liver disease, which can lead to cirrhosis. HVC can be contracted in the same way as HIV, and therefore shared needles are a common cause.

More About Withdrawals From Injected Drugs

Usually, a person who suffers from addiction to the drug will be so afraid of the withdrawal symptoms (shakes, pain, restlessness, cold sweats, night terrors, anger.. etc.) from lack of the drug, that they will not seek help–the withdrawals from heroin can happen after a mere few hours without the drug. The severity of drug withdrawal can be so bad that it will bring people back to using–even if they say they are “going to stop.”

Amputations And Blood Infection From Injecting Drugs Consequences of Injecting Drugs Block Off The BloodA person who injects a drug is vulnerable to various other health consequences. Blood infections and bacterial infections can occur in the user from using dirty needles or from repeated injection of a drug. Sometimes when an inject-able drug is abused, it can block off the blood from the arm or leg and amputation is necessary.

In one study, by the National Institutes of Health, a drug user had been injecting a mixture of drugs into their artery near the foot, and within 24 hours, the blood had stopped flowing to the leg, and the only way to save the patient was to remove the leg. According to the same source, “the outcome after inadvertent injection depends on certain drug properties and the delay between injection and the beginning of therapy.”

How To Tell If A Person Is Injecting Drugs

A person who injects drugs is typically protective of their arms and legs. They almost always wear long sleeve shirts to cover up needle scars or “tracks”, but people can also shoot drugs into their feet, so this might not always be the case. A person who injects heroin might “nod out” frequently, or be in and out of consciousness. A person who abuses cocaine might seem completely delirious and overly hyper. A drug user might do things that seem strange, like always taking their jacket into the bathroom or not showering with the rest of the team.

A person suffering from drug addiction might be dangerously defensive when confronted about their problem, so it might be wise not to go it alone if you’re looking to confront them about their problem. If you’re thinking about doing an intervention for a loved one and have questions, contact us at .

Treatment For Drug Addiction

For more on the Consequences of Injecting Drugs, contact us today!

There are an estimated 12 million people worldwide who inject drugs and 1.6 million of those people are living with HIV. If you’re worried that you or a friend is untreatable and too far gone, you are mistaken. The kind professionals at can help you if you’re suffering from drug addiction, and though millions of people die or continue living with an addiction, there is treatment. To find out more about the Consequences From Injecting Drugs, contact us today!


National Institute on Drug Abuse –
National Institute on Drug Abuse –
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Gov.UK –
Averting HIV and Aids –