How Heroin Is Injected and Other Ways It’s Taken

Understanding heroin and all that goes along with its use is important for a lot of people right now, particularly as the effects of heroin addiction are being felt throughout the U.S. There isn’t a state, a community or a demographic that hasn’t been shaken by heroin use, and empowering yourself with knowledge is important whether you have a loved one who’s using the drug, or you yourself might be struggling with heroin abuse.

Some of the areas of information that can be helpful to have an understanding of, include how heroin is injected and how heroin is administered. This can be important because if you suspect a loved one is using heroin, knowing these things can help you better look out for red flags and also understand the potential dangers.

First, heroin is sold as a whitish or brown fine powder, or as a black tar-like substance. Black tar heroin tends to be the lowest quality and the cheapest, and it’s often cut with other substances including toxins.

How Heroin Is Injected and Other Ways It’s Taken
When heroin is injected, it’s either done into a vein or a muscle. It can also be done under the skin. Injecting heroin directly into a vein is often called mainlining or intravenous use, and under the skin heroin injection is called skin-popping.

Smoking and snorting heroin have become more common particularly over the past decade or so, but people do still inject the drug using a needle and syringe. There is a reason people might prefer this method of using heroin, even though it’s more dangerous. When you directly inject heroin, the high is more powerful, and it happens more quickly.

Even when people start out snorting or smoking heroin, they often ultimately end up shooting it because they develop a tolerance and they want to find ways to continue achieving a high.

How heroin is injected includes needing certain paraphernalia. This includes hypodermic needles, cotton balls for straining, a spoon to liquefy the drug, and something to tie your arm with so the vein will pop out.

With intramuscular heroin injection, peak effects usually occur within five to eight minute after taking the drug, and with intravenous heroin use, it occurs with a few seconds.

When looking at how heroin is injected, you see that you’re delivering the drug directly into the bloodstream, but this is such an intense experience that it often leads to an overdose. Also, if you’re taking heroin that’s cut with a stronger drug, or a harmful toxin or chemical, it’s incredibly dangerous.

People who shoot up heroin as if it’s often called are also at risk of contracting HIV and other bloodborne diseases if they share needles. Since this is one of the primary ways how heroin is injected, many local organizations and governments have started providing people addicted to heroin with clean needles, but that doesn’t mean they’re taking advantage of these programs.

Despite the fact that injecting heroin is often the preferred route of administration for many addicts, it’s also extremely dangerous. We touched on the possibility of contracting illnesses because of dirty needles, but there are other ways how heroin is injected and then causes health problems.

Often when people inject heroin, for example, they start to get abscesses and skin infections. It can also lead blood vessels to collapse, and it can cause infections of the heart lining and valves.

If someone is injecting heroin regularly, their body’s functionality and muscle strength will weaken, and holes can appear in the skin. Also, if you’re injecting poor quality heroin, it can leave behind residue in your blood vessels. Black tar heroin is particularly dangerous, and when you inject it, it can destroy muscle, organ and skin tissue.

As mentioned above, there are other ways how heroin is administered, which are usually either snorting it or smoking it.

When you snort heroin, you inhale the powder directly, and young users snorting heroin is on the rise.

Smoking or inhaling heroin is often called chasing the dragon. With this way how heroin is administered, the user often heats the heroin and then inhales the smoke and vapors it creates. People incorrectly feel that if they snort or smoke heroin, it’s less dangerous, and while there might not be the risks of needles, there are still inherent risks with using this drug, ranging from addiction to overdose.

How Heroin Is Injected and Other Ways It’s Taken
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