Our Blog

The Dangers of the Intravenous Drug Addiction

While all drug addiction is dangerous, intravenous drug use can be particularly dangerous, bringing on a variety of side effects that may not take place with a smoking, snorting or oral drug addiction.  When we think of injecting drugs with needles, we often think of someone with a heroin addiction.  Heroin is one of the most commonly injected drugs.  The truth is however, that most illegal drugs and even prescription narcotic pain relievers can be worked down and injected directly into the blood stream.  A few exceptions of drugs that are not injectable are marijuana, psychedelics like LSC and mushrooms, alcohol and MDMA.

The first major problem with intravenous drug use is that often needles are not sterile.  They may have been sterile at first, but users will often recycle the needles.  This leads to a wide variety of infection.  The biggest one is the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which leads to AIDS.  Hepatitis B and C are also a big concern, as well as general bacterial infections at the injection site. 

Those who inject drugs are also more likely to develop a variety of diseases including tuberculosis.  Heroin addiction particularly can be problematic because it can be very detrimental to the kidneys.  A treatment center that is caring for a patient with intravenous drug problems must be careful to assess the person’s physical health is in order.  Detoxification from heroin addiction or other opioids can be especially difficult. 

Another problem with injecting drugs is when users “cut” or dilute the product to make the actual substance last longer, or to simply reduce the risk of overdose.  The most used substance to cut the drugs is the common household product: talcum powder.  This causes Talc Granulomastosis.  The powder collects in the liver, spleen, lymph nodes and the lungs.  It is very harsh on the tissue of the human body and be quite difficult to recover from. 

The state of Texas, particularly Houston, Texas and the Dallas area have a high rate of heroin addiction according to reports from the National Drug Intelligence Center.  “Mexican Black Tar” is the name of one of the more popular brands of heroin on the drug scene and because of Texas’ location to Mexico, the ability to obtain the drug is considerably easier than other states that do not share the border with the country, although any treatment center from any part of the country will commonly report heroin addiction in their clinics.  Vista Taos Drug Treatment Center in New Mexico is close to Texas and routinely sees problems with these drugs that made their way into the states via Mexico.  The needles used for injection are also relatively easy to obtain.  Many addicts will admit they have an easy time locating needles.  Prescriptions are generally simple to get and there are needle exchange programs that exist to help get clean needles to addicts and provide a place for them to properly dispose of the hazardous ones.  While this does not help someone with a heroin addiction get treatment, it does cut back on the health concerns (HIV, Hepatitis…etc) that come with re-using and sharing needles without cleaning them between uses. 

Yet another risk to injectable drug users is the risk of overdose.  Overdose is a risk an addict takes no matter how they choose to consume their drug, but overdose through injection is effortless to do.  When you inject drugs directly into the blood stream, you are getting instant and maximum results… fast.  For someone who is unaware what their body can tolerate, or someone who is trying to “chase their high,” the results can be fatal.  Because injecting drugs into your system delivers the product so quickly, it can be very difficult for medical professionals to provide assistance, because within just a few moments, the drug has already had plenty of time to travel through your system.  It takes less than one minute for your blood to completely circulate your body.  A toxic amount of an intravenous drug basically takes over your body so quickly that your system has no time to try and protect you. 

The risks of drug use are so numerous and injectable drug addiction brings more unwanted side effects.  Those who have an intravenous drug addiction and are ready to seek the help of a professional treatment center can call Vista Taos Renewal Center any time of day to speak to a live person, not a machine and start the journey to a life without the addiction to intravenous drugs.

Share this post

COVID-19 update: The health and safety of our clients at Vista Taos Renewal Center continues to be our highest priority. Due to the national rise in cases of COVID-19, all potential clients entering the Vista Taos program shall be tested for the virus and must receive their results prior to admission. Vista Taos continues to work closely with the New Mexico Department of Health, adhering to the highest standards of care for our clients, and will provide subsequent testing after admission as needed. For assistance in finding the most efficient testing sites, please contact our Director of Community Relations, Jeremy Lihte, at (575) 425-1913
close