The Dangers of IV Use

As an opioid epidemic is sweeping across the nation, filling our addiction treatment centers, more and more people are turning to heroin as a cheap, easy to acquire alternative to prescription painkillers such as OxyContin. But along with heroin use comes the potential for dangerous or risky IV and needle use, leading to serious health problems. As people struggle to receive treatment in addiction recovery facilities, the vast majority are left without resources, care, or hope, and suffer from the serious consequences of IV drug use.


Injecting heroin with a needle causes the drug to act faster. Compared to snorting the white power, injecting it into the bloodstream allows it to reach the brain more quickly, producing almost instantaneous relief as rapidly as 15 to 30 seconds after injecting. This fast-acting quality holds powerful appeal for people suffering from withdrawal from opioids, sometimes two to three times per day. However, the near-instantaneous effect of injection makes it much easier to overdose, debilitating users before they can realize what’s happening and get help.


IV drug users face effects such as skin infections and abscesses from prolonged needle use. According to the UCLA Semel Institute, 11% of IV drug users reported at least one abscess within the last six months. Users can clean the skin and sterilize the needle to reduce the chance of skin infections, but users often don’t have the resources or presence of mind to sterilize equipment. Instead, users have to resort to risky measures to inject, such as using toilet water when other water is unavailable. Obviously, toilet water, used needles, and other contaminated equipment exposes users to millions of harmful organisms and increases the chance of disease.


Because IV drug users tend to have limited resources, and needles are only granted with a prescription, drug equipment is often shared between users. Shared needles facilitate the spread of bloodborne diseases such as hepatitis and HIV, illnesses which can greatly devastate an individual’s life. Addiction recovery centers across the country are filled with people suffering from diseases contracted due to IV drug use.


Regular IV drug use can also cause endocarditis, inflammation of the inner lining of the heart, which harms heart valves and may lead to other serious complications. In addition to these health concerns, IV drug use leaves behind scars and track marks, which can linger for years and are sometimes permanent, subjecting people to stigma, scrutiny, and pain.


If you or a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, please email or call Right Path Drug Rehab today to find a luxury drug rehab program that’s right for you. Our professional and experienced staff is qualified to treat dual diagnosis and provide safe, supervised detoxification. During treatment, clients attend individual and group meetings, understand the underlying causes of their addiction, and join a community of sober peers. When they leave, clients are equipped to resist cravings and maintain sobriety. Please contact us today to start a new life free from the grip of drugs.


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