Although all recreational drug use poses certain risks, intravenous opiate use is extremely dangerous and can have serious and even life-threatening consequences. Abuse of opiates like prescription painkillers that are typically taken orally can cause complications like gastrointestinal damage and central nervous system depression. However, dependency on opiates like heroin that are usually injected, present severe additional risks due to the sharing of injection equipment like needles, syringes, spoons, water and filters, which are usually not sterilized before use. Unfortunately, intravenous drug users often times share and pass around drugs without disinfecting or decontaminating the equipment, jeopardizing the health of themselves and other users.
The risk of contracting blood-borne pathogens is the most significant and grave threat of intravenous drug use. There are several diseases that can be contracted through sharing this type equipment, including HIV, tetanus, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Unfortunately, there is no cure for HIV but the potential of contracting it through sharing needles is extremely high. There are treatments for tetanus and hepatitis, which can help if the condition is caught early. However, many users do not maintain their personal health and these diseases, when not properly treated, can cause long-term damage like elevated blood pressure, muscle spasms, liver failure, and even cancer.
Additional risks of intravenous opiate use include infections and damage to essential organs, muscle tissue, and the circulatory system. After consistent injections, many users develop venous sclerosis, a condition where the veins narrow and harden, preventing them from using those veins and causing them to find different injection sites on their body. Many intravenous drug users also contract bacterial or fungal infections from using dirty needles or syringes—some common infections are endocarditis and abscesses. Endocarditis is an inflammation of the inner layer of the heart in one or both of the valves and can lead to heart disease and congestive heart failure if left untreated. Abscesses are exceptionally painful infections at the injection site, which are caused by bacteria that get into the veins or pushed beneath the skin by the needle.
Intravenous opiates are extremely dangerous and can cause severe and permanent damage to one’s health. If are struggling with any of the aforementioned health problems, we urge you to immediately contact your medical physician. For more information on choosing a drug detox program for yourself or a loved one, please feel free to contact our office directly. The Waismann Method is a safe and proven treatment for opiate dependency that utilizes the most advanced medical techniques available. The rapid opiate detoxification procedure is carried out in a full-service hospital in Southern California by board-certified anesthesiologists while patients remain under deep sedation, so they experience minimal conscious withdrawal or suffering.