What Is Intravenous Drug Use?
IIntravenous drug use involves injecting a certain substance directly into a vein, by way of a syringe. This method results is heightened effects, as the process of first pass metabolism is trespassed, which all other drugs undergo when consumed orally.
Injecting the drug allows it to become part of the bloodstream instantaneously. This increases the speed of delivery of the drug to the brain. The effects are felt within seconds, and an instant high is produced.
Because this method offers instant gratification, injecting drugs like heroin can greatly increase the user’s likelihood of developing an addiction overtime. The person may even experience an overdose.
Injection-Related Health Effects
In general, any process of drug injection can result in a plethora of effects that are exceedingly harmful. For example; collapsing of veins, skin infections due to puncturing the skin and allowing bacteria in, bacteria on the cardiac valves, and even swelling of the feet and ankles resulting in poor blood flow within the body.
Other dangerous side effects follow suit. Black tar heroin is called so, for its tar-like appearance, as it contains massive amounts of contaminated items. These can be even more detrimental, and impact the user’s liver, kidneys, lungs, and brain.
Repetitive injecting can even cause venous sclerosis. Which is basically a loss of veins to inject the drug in. Thereby, users will then shift to intramuscular injection. Which can then lead to wound botulism, gas gangrene, tetanus, among many more.
The dangers are never-ending.
While the above are general injection-related health effects, there are some other dangers common to drugs prepared with many adulterant chemicals, binders and other toxic substances. Black tar heroin, for example, which is named after its tar-like consistency, contains a large number of additives and contaminants 3. These can cause local inflammation, clog blood vessels and contribute to widespread damage to the following organs:
Because chronic, repeated injection of drugs such as heroin may lead to venous sclerosis, or a loss of veins to inject in, users will often switch to injecting intramuscularly or subcutaneously as opposed to intravenously. This increase in the intramuscular injection can lead to the following dangers:
- Necrotizing fasciitis: A serious skin infection caused by bacteria that kills the tissue in the body. This can cause a user to lose his or her limbs.
- Wound botulism: The bacteria, Clostridium botulinum, which enters a wound caused by needle puncture, can lead to paralysis and death.
- Gas gangrene: This potentially fatal infection is often caused by Clostridium perfringens, and can lead to tissue death.
- Tetanus: Caused by Clostridium tetani, this infection can cause lockjaw, problems swallowing, rigid muscles in the abdomen, and stiffness in the neck.