Safer Injecting Techniques
Injecting drugs is the most risky practice, it is safer to smoke, snort, swallow or use the rectal route (up the bum).
Stock up on plenty of equipment so you never run out
Never inject alone
Never let a used fit come into contact with a group mix - no matter how well it has been cleaned -. Everyone must have their own fit, water, spoon and filter
Rotate your injection sites
Avoid using the neck and groins
Safer Injection Technique
Use soap and water to clean the surface while you will prepare your hit or use the bag your equipment came in. Wash your hands to remove viruses bacteria and dirt from the surface of your skin. If you cant wash your hands, use an alcohol swab (there is one in the One Hit Kit). Wipe in one direction.
Use new equipment every time. The Needle exchange service is open Mon – Friday 08.30 till 17.30. Make sure you pick up enough equipment each time. If you are injecting with others, you can pick up equipment for them too. No matter how well it has been cleaned, never use anyone else’s equipment.
Put the drugs in the spoon and use a new syringe to draw up water from a new ampoule of sterile water.
The cap of the syringe can be used for mixing. Draw up the mixture through the cap which has a filter to remove impurities.
Injecting pills is bad for your health and can damage your heart and veins. If you are injecting pills, try to filter to remove impurities.
Remove air bubbles by pointing the needle skyward and flicking it on the side. Push the plunger up slowly until the air bubbles escape. Injecting air bubbles can cause strokes and serious problems with your heart and lungs which can be fatal.
Apply the tourniquet around your arm, if you are struggling to find a vein, take it off and try again. When you think you are in a vein, pull the plunger back slightly and blood should appear in the syringe. If it doesn’t appear, you may not be in a vein. If you are sure you are in a vein, remove the tourniquet and slowly depress the plunger.
After injecting, remove the needle, keep your arm straight and press on the injection site for a couple of minutes.
Injecting over a long period can lead to
- Blocked blood vessels (caused by things mixed or cut with the drugs)
- Inflamed blood vessels and abscesses
- Damage to vital organs such as the liver, heart or lungs
- Injecting may also increase the risk of becoming dependent on the drug and thereby expose you to serious mental health problems
Cleaning up and disposal
Dispose of your syringe in the sharps bin provided in your pack. Also throw away the spoon, swab and open ampoule of water.
Wipe down the area you have used with soapy water.
Return your used equipment to the Nordhaven clinic in the sharps bin provided.
Unsafe Injecting Techniques
The practice of unsafe injecting (such as sharing or reusing injecting equipment) increases the risk of transmitting a blood-borne virus (HIV/AIDS, Hep B and Hep C). People who inject, or who are injected by someone else with drugs, are especially at risk if sharing or re-using injecting equipment. Hep C is the most common of the possible infections among people who inject drugs, with an extremely high percentage of people who inject likely to be exposed to a new infection and at risk of chronic (long term) infection. Be blood aware and take care.
Safer using means understanding the risks associated with injecting drugs and making sure you protect yourself and others from these risks in any way you can.
Stimulants such as tobacco, cocaine, chocolate, coffee and black tea send your body into action mode. They make your heart work harder by causing your veins to tighten and shrink, squeezing more blood towards the heart. When veins shrink, they are harder to find to inject. This could lead to misses, vein damage, and abscesses. Smaller veins also restrict blood flow and increase blood pressure.
Many stimulants are toxic chemicals that can burn and eat away at delicate vein tissue. With frequent injecting, vein tissue becomes inflamed and breaks down. This can cause scarring, abscesses and collapsed veins.
Some chemicals can also make abscesses worse if you skin pop or miss.
Safer injecting practices on New Psychoactive Substances (legal highs)