24/7 Support Line

(954) 526-5776
Menu close
Get Help Now

Our Centers

  • Take the First Step in Las Vegas

    Desert Hope is a beautiful oasis with modern charm located in Las Vegas, Nevada. We provide all levels of care from detox, in-patient, outpatient and sober living.

    Visit Desert Hope Treatment Center Visit Desert Hope Treatment Center
  • A New Life Awaits

    Start your recovery at our spa-like facility in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Holistic therapies, chef-prepared meals, and LGBTQ+ support are among the many features of our premier drug and alcohol treatment program.

    Visit Greenhouse Treatment Center Visit Greenhouse Treatment Center
  • The Best Place to Recover in Orange County

    Laguna Treatment Hospital is located in Orange County, CA. The first Chemical Dependency Recovery Hospital in the OC, we offer safe medical detox, mental health support, and wellness programs.

    Visit Laguna Treatment Hospital Visit Laguna Treatment Hospital
  • Start Recovery at Our Southern Resort

    Take a step back from your life and get the help you need at our premier drug and alcohol addiction center. Nestled in the countryside 1.5 hours from Memphis, Oxford gives you the support you need in a calm and beautiful setting.

    Visit Oxford Treatment Center Visit Oxford Treatment Center
  • Recovery Forecast includes Tropical Weather

    Your recovery can start at either of two premier drug and alcohol treatment facilities in the Greater Miami area - Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, FL. Our specialties include treatment for veterans and first responders.

    Visit Recovery First Treatment Center Visit Recovery First Treatment Center
  • Sunny Florida Welcomes You

    Retreat to the sunny climate of Tampa, Florida for a stay at the gold standard of treatment facilities. We offer customized care plans to help you on your recovery journey.

    Visit River Oaks Treatment Center Visit River Oaks Treatment Center
  • Helping New Englanders Find Recovery for Over 30 years

    Escape to the countryside to recovery in New Jersey’s premier drug rehab & treatment center. Located only an hour from New York City.

    Visit Sunrise House Treatment Center Visit Sunrise House Treatment Center

Intravenous Drug Abuse Explainaed Part 2

In Intravenous Drug Abuse Explained Part 1 we discussed some of the traits and practices of intravenous drug users (also referred to simply as IDU) and a number of related consequences. These include severe and obvious signs of injection sites, rapid onset of dependence and addiction, and severe criminal penalties that can result if caught with the drugs commonly injected by addicts; heroin, cocaine, crack and morphine, among others. However, despite the seriousness of these penalties, intravenous drug users expose themselves to even more severe and life-threatening risks every time they inject a drug. Because these risks can quickly result in fatal complications, understanding the life-and-limb consequences of intravenous drug use is critical in order to save those who cannot save themselves.

Overdose

Intravenous drug users prefer to inject their substances of choice for the same reasons that make these drugs especially dangerous. First, when a chemical is introduced directly to the blood stream it is not degraded by first-pass metabolism. Other drugs are broken down in the stomach before absorption or lose potency through degradation via burning (smoking) or insufflation (inhaling or sniffing). Injected drugs bypass these filters and impact the body immediately, producing a more pronounced state of euphoria in far less time.

Secondly, intravenous administration of drugs allows chemical substances to pass the blood-brain barrier much more rapidly than other methods of substance abuse. This means that the drugs begin to work on the brain immediately and can cause powerful effects.

These two features of IV drug use combine to create a serious risk of relapse because it is extremely difficult to predict an intravenous dose. Additionally, intravenous administration of drugs does not allow for moderation of a drug – meaning that unlike smoking or sniffing where a user can regulate their doses and only consume what they need, IV use occurs all-at-once. This poses a serious risk of overdose to the user that must be medically remedied immediately. Otherwise, overdoses of this nature are often fatal.

Hepatitis C

Blood borne illnesses of any type are always a risk when sharing needles or using needles in an unsanitary manner. Hepatitis C (and other versions of the virus) is a dangerous disease of the liver that is directly associated with IDUs. This is a non-curable illness that can come as a shock to many people:

“Most people who are infected with hepatitis C don’t experience any symptoms for years. However, hepatitis C is a chronic illness (which means it doesn’t go away). If you have hepatitis C, you need to be watched carefully by a doctor because it can lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer.” (1)

Unfortunately, not many substance abusers are aware of the threat of Hepatitis C. However, most people are aware of the associations between HIV and intravenous drug use, but addicts regularly ignore these risks.

AIDS/HIV

HIV and AIDS is an epidemic condition among intravenous drug users. The poor hygiene, unsanitary conditions and deteriorating state of health of most IDUs makes them much more susceptible to the disease, and when the sharing of needles is involved the risk suddenly becomes quite deadly:

“Since the epidemic began, injection drug use has directly and indirectly accounted for more than one-third (36%) of AIDS cases in the United States.”

This effect is compounded by the fact that many IDUs engage in risky sexual behaviors – often with non-drug users – that spreads the disease further into the community.

The risk of serious illness, imprisonment and death is a frightening reality for intravenous drug users. If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction and needs help, call the number at the top of your screen for an immediate confidential consultation. The call is free and can be made any time of day. What are you waiting for? Take control of your life back right now.

(1) Family Doctor.ORG Hepatitis C

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More