Many people with a heroin addiction end up injecting the drug into their veins.
Injection drug use puts heroin directly into the bloodstream. This means it reaches the brain and its effects can be felt within seconds.
Heroin use has risen recently in America due to the opioid epidemic. Substance abuse of prescription opioids has led to a new heroin epidemic in the country. People turn to this illicit drug when they run out of painkillers to satisfy their opioid use needs.
Shooting heroin is extremely dangerous. It puts people who use the drug at a higher risk for opioid overdose.
People might start by snorting or smoking heroin for the first time, but they quickly end up shooting it because of the more intense and instant high.
How Is Heroin Injected?
To inject heroin into the veins, it first must be heated until it turns into a liquid form. This is typically done by holding a lighter or candle under a metal spoon (‘heroin spoon’) or metal bottle cap.
Once the heroin is in liquid form, people might filter it using a cotton ball or cigarette filter. Next, they draw it into a syringe with a heroin needle and inject it into a vein, usually on the arm or legs.
Heroin comes in multiple forms. Black tar heroin, white powder, and brown powder heroin are all common, though typically only the powder forms are heated and injected.
Other drugs can also be melted and injected, including crack cocaine and methamphetamine.
Signs And Symptoms Of IV Heroin Use
There are some things you can look out for if you are concerned that a loved one has a heroin drug addiction These include physical and behavioral signs and certain items.
Physical Signs Of Injecting Heroin
The following body changes or effects may be a sign of IV drug use:
- ‘heroin track marks’ or darkened veins
- skin infections
- abscesses and sores at injection sites
- weight loss
- dry mouth
- constricted pupils, also called ‘opioid pupils’
Behavioral Signs Of Shooting Heroin
A person who is injecting heroin may experience behavioral changes as well, such as:
- mood swings
- hostility or irritability
- lying about drug use
- hoarding metal spoons and/or bottle caps
- inability to hold a job or stay in school
- drowsiness and nodding off
Paraphernalia Associated With Shooting Heroin
In addition to outward signs, you may find certain items that signal heroin injection.
These could include:
- cotton balls
- cigarette filters
- lighters or candles
- metal spoons or bottle caps
- tie-offs to make veins larger (shoestrings, rubber hoses, belts, etc.)
In addition to the items listed above, someone might have different heroin paraphernalia if they are smoking, plugging, or snorting the drug.
Other Methods Of Heroin Abuse
Oftentimes, people using heroin will start by snorting or smoking it, and eventually end up shooting it. Shooting heroin gives the most intense and fast-acting high.
As a person’s tolerance to the drug increases, shooting heroin becomes more compelling because the effects are more intense.
Dangers Of IV Heroin Use
Shooting heroin is extremely dangerous.
These are all dangers of heroin substance use:
- tremors or seizures
- weak pulse
- sexual side effects (especially for men)
- slowed or shallow breathing
- fatal overdose
- lung problems
- mental health issues
In addition, shooting heroin has its own unique set of dangers, including:
- increased HIV risk and risk of other diseases like Hepatitis C (from sharing needles)
- increased risk of overdose
- damaged or collapsed veins
- infections at injection sites
Treatment Options For Heroin Addiction
Treatment is necessary to combat opioid addiction. Treatment centers are healthcare facilities that also offer behavioral training and other special treatment to people who have addictions.
If a person has overdosed, they may first need naloxone to save their life. Heroin addiction treatment may begin with detox before moving to inpatient heroin care.
Finally, when a person is ready, they can begin outpatient heroin treatment as they return to their daily lives.
Find Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center
Bedrock Recovery Center is an inpatient treatment center located just outside of Boston, MA. We offer treatment plans for ages ranging from young adults to older people using heroin or other drugs.
Bedrock Recovery Center serves the entire east coast of the U.S. From Washington, D.C. to Boston, and all the small towns in between, we offer top-rated care for addiction recovery.
Call our helpline today to learn how you can start the road to recovery.