What are Health Risks of IV Drug Use?

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Intravenous (IV) drug use carries the highest health risk and faster dependency rates than any other type of drug administration. The user feels the effects of the drug quicker, more intensely and the drug bypasses the body’s natural filtering mechanisms.

IV drug use is extremely dangerous. Unsanitary conditions and sharing of needles can lead to a number of diseases and infections. People addicted to drugs often become desperate and logical decision making doesn’t often occur. The primary focus for an addict is achieving the high from their drug of choice. Addicts will go to great lengths to feed their addiction and avoid withdrawal symptoms associated with their drug use. When resources are limited, addicts often resort to sharing needles with others. More often than not, addicts are unaware of the infectious diseases themselves or others may have at the time. Sharing needles is extremely dangerous and causes infectious diseases to spread. Here are commonly seen infectious diseases found in IV drug users:

  • Hepatitis: a viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver and can lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis. Drug users that contract Hepatitis C are at an increased risk of developing HIV due to a weakened immune system.
  • HIV is an incurable autoimmune disease that weakens the immune system and can lead to pneumonia, tuberculosis, cancer, neurological conditions and tumors.

What Other Illnesses are Associated with IV Drug Use?

There are a number of illnesses and infections that can cause major health risks due to IV drug use. Staph infections are the most commonly seen IV drug using related infections, untreated these infections can spread to the lung and cause pneumonia-like symptoms. Abscesses are a commonly seen health risk of IV drug users and are characterized by a large, tender mass filled with pus and bacteria. Botulism causes paralysis of the muscles and can lead to blurred vision, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing. Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin that can lead to nectrosing, fascilitis and blood poisoning. Tetanus is a disease caused by bacteria entering a wound. It can cause uncontrollable muscle spasms, “lockjaw” and prevent the brain and other organs from receiving oxygen, resulting in death. Thrombophlebitis is a condition where a blood clot forms in a vein. This can lead to pain, swelling and in septic conditions can cause renal failure or amputation.

Commonly Injected Legal and Illegal Drugs

IV drugs users find ways to change the consistency of drugs, this allows them to inject drugs directly into their bloodstream. There are various methods they utilize, the most common method is to dilute the drug with water in order to inject it. IV drug users are often unaware exactly what chemicals are in the drugs they are using. By injecting drugs that may contain various other harmful ingredients they put themselves at serious risk for accidental overdose and death.Injecting a toxic chemical into your bloodstream and bypasses the body’s natural filtering mechanisms, this is why accidental overdose and death often occurs. IV drug users are also often unaware of the strength of the drug. Being unaware of what dose you are injecting can result in serious health risks and death. Here is a list of some of the most commonly injected legal and illegal drugs.</p?

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Crack
  • Methamphetamine
  • Opiates
  • Prescription drugs

Seeking Treatment

While all methods used to get high pose serious health risks, IV drug use increases the likelihood of accidental overdose and other health complications not seen with alternative routes of administration. With increased risk of abscesses, collapsed veins, infectious diseases and increased chance of overdose, help is imperative. Injecting drugs provide a more rapid and intense high than other routes of administration. Breaking this addiction is difficult and takes time. If you or someone you know if struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, please seek help immediately. IV drug use is dangerous and can result in death. Emotional and physical recovery from addiction is possible. If you wish to learn more about the risks associated with IV drug abuse and possible treatment options, please do not hesitate to call us at (888) 357-7577.



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