The Dangers of Injecting Drugs
Most individuals are thoroughly unaware that injecting drugs into their systems can significantly increase severe, life-threatening health problems. Not only are you putting your life in immediate danger, but your body and immune system also become susceptible to:
- Severe bruising
- Venous injuries
- HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus)
- Hepatitis C
These consequences are painful for the individual to go through and heart-breaking for their loved ones to feel helpless in the moment as the person they adore abuses their bodies with illegal substances.
The majority of illicit drugs can be either smoked or snorted; however, it has become common knowledge to know that injecting drugs directly into the bloodstream will result in the effects beginning faster and lasting longer.
Is there an increased risk of overdosing through injection?
An overdose will happen when the individual consumes too much of a particular substance that the body cant deal with in such excessive amounts. Injecting allows said illicit substances to enter directly into the bloodstream in one go, which unfortunately puts the individual within a high-risk category of having a fatal overdose. Individuals who abuse generally will not accurately gauge the amount of substance they are injecting into their body, which will cause the overdose.
Dangerous short term health risks associated with injecting
Several immediate and dangerous short-term health risks are strongly associated with injected drugs into the system, whether intravenously, subcutaneously, or intramuscularly. This can include but is not limited to:
- Puncture marks, otherwise known as track lines
- Collapsed veins
- Swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet is a result of reduced or poor blood flow.
- Skin infections can include
- Necrotizing fasciitis
- Inflamed veins
- Bacteria on the cardiac valves or other cardiovascular infections
The above short-term health risks are only regarding the process of injecting and not concerning any specific substance. Additional risks will present themselves depending on the type of drug and the amount being consumed at the time. As an example: black tar heroin has a variety of severe short term risks such as:
- Clogged blood vessels
- Inflammation throughout the body
- Damage to the lungs, brain, liver, and kidney
These consequences are on top of the symptoms you could experience from injecting alone.
Chronic addicts who inject will often find that their veins have collapsed, resulting in them having to inject intramuscularly; this can lead to the following health risks:
- Wound botulism
- Gas gangrene
- Necrotizing fasciitis
Abusing drugs is a hazardous activity to perform; becoming addicted to injecting said drugs into your system will only increase the likelihood of you becoming seriously ill mentally and physically, alongside significantly increasing the possibility of a fatal overdose. While not all of these short-term risks are a threat to your life, the repercussions of an infection or blood clot could be.
Long term health risks associated with injecting
Individuals who abuse illicit drugs intravenously for an extended period significantly increases the likelihood of developing many long-term physical and mental health issues. As stated with the short term risks, every drug comes with its own set of risks; injecting long term comes with furthermore life-threatening severe risks, which can include:
- Severe weight loss
- Chronic hepatitis
- Heart failure
- Sexual dysfunction
- Liver cancer
- Decay of white matter within the individual’s brain
- Musculoskeletal infection
Impacts of needle sharing
Sharing needles or syringes to inject any sort of illicit substance into your body puts you in a high-risk category of contracting HIV or other serious infections that can be found in the blood, such as hepatitis C. No matter whether you are injecting just under the skin on directly into your bloodstream, you are putting your life in harm’s way. People who inject drugs are 22 times more at risk of HIV compared with the general population. Sterile syringes are not always readily available for addicts at the moment that they need. A sense of panic begins when they realize their only option is to consume the drug is to pick up a used needle.
Depending on the type of drug you abuse, the brain’s messengers may be getting overwhelmed or disrupted by the addition of dopamine levels within your body. This halts your central nervous system from completing the correct processes and leads you into situations that could potentially have life-threatening consequences.
If you believe you have shared a need with someone who possibly has HIV, you will need to get yourself tested immediately to stop any long-term issues.
Don’t allow addiction to control your life
The cycle of addiction can often, at times, leave you feeling hopeless; however, help is readily available. Shoreline Sober Living offers comprehensive addiction treatment to ensure you are set for long-term recovery.
You must know you are not alone in this journey; whether you have relapsed and are looking to try again, or this is your first time getting on the road to recovery, you are not alone. Shoreline Sober Living provides the guidance, community, and environment necessary to enact lasting change in a life of recovery from drugs and alcohol- making it what many believe to be San Diego’s top-rated sober living facility.
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