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Preparing to inject

To start

  • Choose a quiet, safe and clean place to inject – at home is best.
  • Use warm soapy water to wash your hands and wipe down the surface you’ll use to prepare your mix.
  • Make sure you have all your clean injecting equipment within reach: a syringe and needle, swabs, spoon or foil, water, filter, and tourniquet.
  • Have an approved sharps disposal bin or a bottle with a lid to put in used swabs and needles.

Mixing up

  • With a clean swab, wipe the spoon firmly in one direction. Don’t rub the swab up and down in two directions as this spreads any germs around the spoon.
  • Put your drugs in the spoon. If sharing a mix with others, you must all have new sterile needles and syringes. It’s important no used equipment comes near a group mix.
  • Use a clean needle and syringe to draw the water up, sterile (boiled) water is best.
  • Add the water to the spoon and mix. If you’re using the blunt end of the barrel to mix your drugs, make sure it’s been cleaned.
  • Put a filter in the spoon – the best filter is a hand-rolling filter, cotton wool or a tampon.
  • Draw the solution up through the filter to remove impurities. If you’re injecting pills, use pill filters. If you can’t get pill filters, filter your mix at least three times.
  • Remove air bubbles by pointing the needle skywards and flicking the side with your fingernail. Push the plunger up slowly until the air bubbles escape through the eye of the needle.


  • You’ll need one of these to get your veins pumped up enough to inject.
  • They’re available to buy online, try:
  • If you don’t have any at hand, you can tightly tie some material, like a clean vest or sock.

Don’t share tourniquets – there may be tiny droplets of blood on it which can carry infections.

Next: The injecting process ››

‹‹ Previous: Equipment and sharing

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