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Why Intravenous Drug Use Is So Dangerous


In many instances of illicit substance abuse, users will seek out ways to intensify their desired high. These methods can range from binging on the drug to abusing more than one substance at a time. Perhaps one of the most dangerous ways that a user tries to accomplish this is by injecting their drug of choice directly into their bloodstream. While the sensations may be more intense, so are the risks to the user. Learn about the serious dangers of intravenous drug use with Banyan Treatment Center Pompano.


The Dangers of IV Drug Use

The term intravenous drug use refers to the practice of self-injecting a liquified form of a drug directly into the bloodstream via a person’s veins. It is one of the most dangerous methods of substance abuse and can have a devastating and even deadly effect on a person’s health. Because it enters directly into the blood rather than being filtered through the liver or lungs, it grants a much more intense sensation than smoking or orally ingesting a drug.

The intensity of these highs is one of the first major risk factors associated with this type of drug use. The more the individual uses, the greater their tolerance will become. This means that they need to use more of a certain substance each time to produce the desired effects. It also greatly heightens the risk of overdosing, particularly because of the lack of filtration through the body.

Perhaps the most infamous side effect of injecting a drug is the risk of disease. Infection from intravenous drug use is extremely common and is heavily associated with the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other bloodborne illnesses. It is also common for users to endure skin infections because of the irritation and damage associated with continual needle injections in the body.

The most common skin infection experienced by people who inject drugs is called cellulitis.1 It affects both the users’ skin as well as the tissue that lays underneath. It can lead to painful redness at the site of injection and may advance to affect the entire limb.1 It is exacerbated by the presence of bacteria and other agents that may be present on a dirty or shared needle.

A person is most likely to inject the drug into the arm due to how much space there is, the access to veins, and how easy it is to do. These injections often result in either bruising or scarring and can serve as a tell-tale sign of this type of substance abuse. Once these veins become too damaged to continue, however, a person may resort to injecting into veins in their hands, groin, neck, feet, or legs.


Types of Drugs Used Intravenously

In an illegal context, people typically inject one of three drugs. Still, practically any drug, especially those which are available in tablet or pill form, can be dissolved until they are a liquid and injected to enhance and speed up the effects.

The most common intravenous drugs list includes:

  • Heroin
  • Meth
  • Cocaine

If someone has resorted to this form of drug abuse, it is an extraordinarily strong sign that they are experiencing a substance use disorder. To address it effectively, they are encouraged to pursue care from one of the effective Broward County substance abuse programs that we offer. Banyan’s Pompano Beach treatment center offers varying levels of care to ensure that each patient gets the care that is suited to their individual needs.

For more information about addiction and mental health treatment in Pompano Beach, call Banyan’s Broward County drug rehab at 888-280-4763 today.



  1. Sepsis Alliance – IV Drug Use


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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.