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Intravenous Drug Use

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What is Intravenous Drug Use?

Intravenous drug use means administering the drug directly into a vein. The Latin translation of ‘intra venous’ means ‘within the vein’. The simplest and most common way of intravenous drug use for recreational users is by the utilization of a hypodermic needle. The hypodermic syringe with a hollow needle was invented in 1844 by Francis Rynd. Injecting via intravenous these days is also known as ‘slamming’, ‘shooting up’, ‘banging’ or ‘mainlining’. Most of the recreational drugs used intravenously these days are also possible to be used by other methods such as snorting, inhaling or smoking.

Reasons for Intravenous Drug Use

People choose to inject drugs for various reasons.

The three most prominent reasons are:

  • Drugs injected by intravenous injection take effect within 15 to 30 seconds, faster than all other methods and over 10 times faster than by snorting.
  • When drugs are injected intravenously the effects tend to be more potent than by smoking, snorting etc.
  • Drugs bought in the form of intravenous injections are cheaper than buying in other forms or other drugs as a whole.

Risks of Intravenous Drug Use

Injecting intravenously comes with risks associated with injecting any drug:

  • Potential risk of transmission of HIV if sharing needles
  • Skin infection from injecting
  • Collapsed veins
  • Poisoning due to chemicals which may be added to the drug by dealers

Intravenous Heroin Use

Heroin is a semi-synthetic opioid that is derived from morphine. When heroin is taken by intravenous injection it is in fact 3 to 5 times more potent than morphine. The effects of heroin re normally felt within a minute or two when used via intravenous injection and the peak is reached within ten minutes in comparison to 15 minutes when heroin is snorted or smoked. The analgesic effects will tend to last between three to five hours.
Intravenous injection creates a sensation of intense pleasure, otherwise known as a ‘rush’ lasting for a few minutes. After the rush, for about an hour, there is a sedation effect complete with the effects of:

  • Relaxation
  • Drowsiness
  • Lack of pain (analgesia)
  • Euphoria
  • Reduced Anxiety
  • Increased empathy for others

Potential risks from injecting heroin include:

  • Liver damage
  • Rotting teeth
  • Nausea
  • Slowed reaction times

Heroin withdrawal effects inclue:

  • Diarrhea
  • Convulsions
  • Vomiting
  • Uncontrollable body movements

These effects will normally last a few days and can be helped by medical use from a detox or treatment center.

Intravenous Methamphetamine Use

Methamphetamine, also known as speed, meth or chalk, is a psychoactive stimulant of the phenethylamine and amphetamine class of drugs. It can be taken via intravenous injection for a stronger and faster effect than by snorting or smoking. The effects of methamphetamine are normally a rush felt between one and two minutes and then normal effects lasting from four to eight hours.

The effects of methamphetamine taken via intravenous injection are:

  • Increased energy
  • Agitation
  • Lack of pain
  • Euphoria
  • Talkativeness
  • Confidence
  • Alertness

Side effects of meth include:

  • Heavy breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Feel stronger than normal
  • Making impulsive irrational decisions
  • Increased sex drive
  • ‘Meth mouth’ symptoms such as rotten or cracked teeth
  • Cardiovascular, kidney and liver damage
  • Hallucinations

Meth withdrawal symptoms will normally include fatigue, depression and increased appetite.
Both heroin and methamphetamine are highly addictive drugs with both a psychological and physical dependency. If addicted to any of these drugs it is recommended to check into a drug rehab and attend 12 step meetings.

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