What are Signs and Symptoms of IV Drug Use?

Drug users who began with other routes of administration often turn to the intravenous method when desperately looking for a more immediate high.

Symptoms Associated with Possible IV Drug Use

Common signs of IV drug use are: track marks on arms, wearing long sleeves (especially in warm weather), sudden neglect of responsibilities and hygiene, irritability, anxiety, hyperactivity or lethargy, swollen hands or feet, abscesses, staph infections, collapsed veins. Some items you may find that are often associated with IV drug use are: syringes, bloodstained tissues or water, bent and/or burned spoons, aluminum foil with burn marks, isolated shoelaces (used to tie off injection site), q-tips and cotton balls.

How are IV Drugs Used?

There are a number of tools and methods needed prior to IV drug administration. The drug is mixed with water; often heat is required to dissolve the drug into the water. The drug is often placed on a spoon, tinfoil, or bottom of a soda can and then placed over a flame. Once the drug has dissolved the addict places a filter (cotton ball, q-tip or cigarette filter) into the spoon or other cooking device, draws up the drug from the filter using a syringe and then injects the drug into their vein. Tourniquets (belts, shoelaces, etc.) are often used so the addict can successfully locate a vein.

Commonly Injected Legal and Illegal Drugs

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

Seeking Treatment

We know that concerned loved ones have a lot of questions regarding the signs of IV drug use, risks of IV drug use and possible treatment options. With increased risk of abscesses, collapsed veins, infectious diseases and increased chance of overdose, help is imperative. If you or a loved one needs help, please do not hesitate to call us at (888) 357-7577 or simply click on the banner below to visit our contact page. We are waiting to help!