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‘Slamming’ is another word for injecting.

Injecting is the most dangerous way of taking drugs. It carries risks that don’t exist – or are much lower – if you smoke or snort the drug. Those risks include:

  • overdose
  • picking up serious infections like HIV and hepatitis C
  • blood poisoning
  • collapsed veins
  • abscesses
  • blood clots/deep vein thrombosis
  • becoming psychologically dependent on the ritual of injecting.

Injecting drugs or steroids can also mean sharing equipment such as needles, syringes, spoons, water, filters and swabs. It’s the most efficient way of spreading infections carried in blood such as HIV and hepatitis B and C, and sometimes traces of blood may be too small to see.

A drug can be injected if it already comes as a liquid, like ketamine, or if it’s a powder that can be mixed with water.

Depending on the drug, it’s injected through a needle into different parts of the body. Steroids go into the muscle of the arse (buttock); other drugs need to go into a vein – never an artery. Injecting a drug into the wrong place can be life-threatening.

As the drug goes directly into the bloodstream and reaches the brain quickly, the hit comes within seconds and is stronger than other ways of taking a drug. This means there is a bigger risk of overdose and addiction.

Other risks include collapsed veins or life-threatening blood clots as well as bacteria and viruses which can get into the body via dirty or shared injecting equipment. These can include HIVhepatitis B and C, as well as bacteria that can cause skin infections or life-threatening infections of the blood or heart.

Read our full guide to safer injecting.

Next: Tips for safer injecting ››

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Published: 30/08/2018
Next review: 30/08/2021