Tips for safer injecting
Slamming is dangerous, for all kinds of reasons – some are less obvious than others. If you haven’t started slamming – don’t. It can lead to a huge list of long-term physical and mental health problems and can make it extremely hard to get clean.
For the sake of your health and to lower the risk of addiction, switch to a non-injectable form of the drug if you can. But if you’re going to slam, here’s what you need to know.
This guide covers:
- The basics (this page)
- Equipment and sharing
- Preparing to inject: setup, mixing up and torniquets
- The injecting process: techniques, flushing and clean-up
Learn the difference between a vein and an artery – injecting into an artery can kill. Arteries are deeper and harder to find than veins, but they sit very close together.
Arteries and veins
- If you hit an artery, the blood will be brighter and will spurt rather than ooze.
- It’ll be harder and more painful to inject your drugs, and the plunger will probably be forced back. It may contain frothy blood.
- It you think you’ve hit an artery, pull out straight away and apply firm pressure to the injection site.
- If the bleeding continues for more than five minutes, seek medical help at A&E, an NHS Walk-in Centre or a GP surgery. If you’re losing blood fast, call 999.
Use a new needle if you fail to find a vein straight away. To reduce the risk of collapsed veins avoid injecting into the same area.
Avoid injecting into veins in your hand – they’re too small to handle it and could collapse.
Collapsed veins may never recover. Injecting below the waist can cause serious circulation problems if a vein is damaged. Never inject into a site that’s sore or swollen as this area may be infected or the vein may be blocked.
Get to a doctor if an injection site is swollen for more than a few days, if it’s red, hot or tender or if there’s any serious bleeding, the skin changes colour, is sore or weeps.
Next review: 30/08/2021