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Infections IV Drug Users Can Get

Infections IV Drug Users Can Get

It is estimated that 13 million people worldwide inject drugs.1

IV drug use is associated with many dangers, including a slew of health problems and infections resulting from unclean practices when injecting. Many communities are attempting to curtail the dangers of IV drug use with needle exchange programs or safe injection sites, but these spots are often challenged in courts.

At Banyan Heartland, we know that many patients undergoing heroin detox in Gilman are former IV drug users, leaving them at risk for many health problems. If you are using IV drugs, or if you know someone who is, it is important to understand the risks of IV drug use along with symptoms of health complications from IV drug use.

Common Infections IV Drug Users May Get

  There are many IV drug use infections that users can get, and the majority of these infections affect a person’s soft tissues and blood. Common infections from IV drug abuse include:

  • Sepsis
  • Cellulitis
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV
  • Staph Infections
  • Flesh-eating bacteria
  • Botulism
  • Tetanus (lockjaw)

The bulk majority of these IV drug use health problems are caused by bacteria entering the body through the injection site or the needle directly. Conditions such as cotton fever typically stem from bacteria within the cotton that heroin users utilize when injecting and may remedy themselves. But other infections, such as sepsis, will not resolve on their own. The majority of illnesses and infections related to IV drug use need medical attention or they will worsen and even become fatal.

Symptoms of IV Drug Use Complications

  The problem is, many symptoms of IV drug use complications and infections may not present themselves immediately. For example, bone and joint infections IV drug users can get may not present symptoms as they progress within the body. 2

There are some symptoms that may be present for a variety of infections stemming from intravenous drug use. Common sepsis from IV drug use symptoms include:

  • Temperature changes, either higher or lower than normal
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Pain all over the body
  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness or difficulty waking
  • Feeling severe discomfort

Organ dysfunction, such as low oxygen within the blood or low urine output can indicate that the body is shutting down due to sepsis. 3 Sepsis, which is also known as blood poisoning, is one of the many infectious risks of intravenous drug use.

Treating Infections from IV Drug Use

  Injection-based drug use puts users at risk for incredibly dangerous infections and conditions. If you are experiencing symptoms of sepsis, if the skin around injection sites is changing color, or if you feel ill overall, it is imperative to get immediate medical attention. Many IV drug use infections and illnesses require antibiotics or complex procedures to safely and effectively treat the condition. The longer you wait to get help, the more dangerous the situation will become.

Getting Treatment for IV Drug Addiction

  At Banyan Heartland, we offer treatment for IV drug users to help them get and stay sober. Call our facility today to learn more about our programs for drug and alcohol treatment in Gilman.

IV drug use is a dangerous and even deadly game. Get help to get sober today, call 888-280-4763.


  1. World Health Organization – People who inject drugs
  2. NCBI – Bone and joint infections in injection drug users.
  3. Sepsis – Basic Symptoms
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Infections IV Drug Users Can Get
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