Intravenous Injections: Why Method of Drug Use Matters

The way in which a person consumes drugs isn’t talked about as often as the types of drugs a person abuses. Illicit drugs – such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, ketamine, and PCP – can be taken in different ways. Many people believe that the route of administration is irrelevant, but the way a person goes about consuming drugs can affect them differently. Intravenous drug use tends to give people a “high” much quicker because the drugs are injected directly into the bloodstream. This can be seen as a “good thing” for those looking to feel the effects quickly, but it actually puts a person more at risk for addiction because it’s so easy to reach that “high.”

 The Rate of Drug Injection in the U.S.

Previous studies have found that around 12 million people consume drugs intravenously each year. Additionally, adolescents are more likely to try this method if they’ve used certain drugs like cocaine. Unfortunately, injections have become popular due to the ease of obtaining supplies for this and how quickly a person can reach the pleasurable feelings associated with being intoxicated.

 With the prescription opioid epidemic that’s taken place across the nation, heroin has also become a significant implication for those in the drug market – and with that comes intravenous injections and hospital visits.

With so many lives at stake, we must explore the health risks associated with intravenous drug use. Once we understand the risks, we can support our loved ones to seek help sooner rather than later.

 The Ins and Outs of Intravenous Drug Use

Studies have shown that some individuals will inject directly into their skin, also known as “skin popping.” In addition to this particular method, some will inject directly into their muscle tissue. Heroin is the most commonly used drug for this method, but some individuals inject a variety of other drugs by simply breaking them down. Intravenous injection does present significant health risks beyond even the most obvious dangers. After all, it involves needles and syringes, which are frequently shared amongst those in the drug community. If a person isn’t careful, serious health issues could arise – and that’s why it’s so important to seek treatment.

 Health Issues Associated with Intravenous Injections

The sharing of needles from intravenous drug use can cause severe health conditions to arise, such as HIV. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus spread through certain body fluids which attacks the body’s immune system. As time continues on, HIV can destroy cells – CD4, or T cells – which actually work hard to fight off infections. If treatment and help aren’t sought, this can likely escalate into AIDS, which causes a person’s immune system to become so damaged that infections can easily creep in. As the government has noted, there is currently no cure for HIV. The only way this disease can be prevented is by not sharing needles and syringes and protecting oneself in other ways.

 Intravenous injections also pose two other risks that most people aren’t aware of:

  • Infection of the heart and its valves (a condition known as endocarditis)
  • Skin infections (a disease known as cellulitis)

 Hepatitis C is another deadly disease that can occur from sharing needles and poor sexual judgment while abusing drugs. This is a severe liver disease that can, in most cases, lead to other complications. It can even lead to cirrhosis if help isn’t sought. There are several symptoms that may be experienced with Hepatitis C, such as:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Joint pain
  • And more

 If help can be sought as soon as symptoms arise, a person can begin recovering from the damage of addiction. In many cases, it can also save a person’s life.


It’s scary to seek help when you’ve already been deep in the trenches of addiction. Still, it’s far better to reach out for support if it will save your life or turn your life around for the better. If you’ve been battling addiction, Choice House offers residential treatment programs to provide the intensive support that those recovering need.

 Detoxification tends to be the first step of treatment. It involves the body naturally dispelling of the toxins it’s acquired through the addiction process. Afterward, several services can be utilized for healing and rejuvenation, such as individual psychotherapy, 12-Step programs, relapse prevention planning, and more.

If you’re ready to start the journey of recovery, Choice House can provide you with the structure you need to get going. As addicted people, we’ve often fought for years to assert our independence. However, when we get sober, we often find we can’t do it on our own, and we need to reach out for help. Whether 12-step recovery is the correct format for you or you prefer a different approach, you’ll find the compassionate, experienced care you need. Choice House is a comprehensive recovery solution, providing you with the treatment and care you need at every step on your recovery journey. Our staff includes passionate and experienced experts, trained in cutting-edge, research-backed methods to make sure you’re supported by the very best in the field. Our program also includes full inpatient rehab services in addition to outpatient programs and sober living facilities throughout the Boulder, Colorado area. Call us today at (720) 577-4422 to learn more.


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