Taking ControlMainlining (Intravenous Injection)Hierarchy of safety for picking Intravenous Injection SitesVeins vs. ArteriesVeins vs. NervesExercises for improving Vein VisibilitySome Tips for “Getting Veins Up”Muscle-Popping (Intramuscular Injection)Skin-Popping (Subcutaneous Injection)

This ar of the manual presents information on suitable injection technique (intravenous, intramuscular, and subcutaneous injection).

You are watching: Hitting an artery instead of a vein

As essential as preparing her drugs as cleanly as possible is injecting them as safely and as carefully as possible.

This section of the manual presents info on suitable injection method (intravenous, intramuscular, and subcutaneous injection). In addition to mastering ideal injection technique, folks who inject intravenously regularly must additionally be certain to practice great vein care, and also everyone who injects need to be mindful of the assorted things they have the right to do—like rotating injection sites—that will aid them stop infection and also maintain an excellent health.



It is extremely essential for human being who inject routinely —particularly those who are physically dependent—to be able to prepare and safely inject medicine on their own. Civilization may take advantage of you when they recognize that you depend on lock for obtaining off. You deserve to have control over her body and also what you have to do for yourself! Learn how to safely and properly inject yourself!


Learning just how to inject properly, like mastering any other complex activity, takes practice. After a while, you will no doubt have the ability to hit veins you’ve never used prior to on the first try, bring about minimal trauma come the injection site and also leaving a small puncture wound that barely bleeds. Friend will construct ‘a feel’ for whereby your veins are and how you have to position and also insert your needle in bespeak to gain a good hit.

Perhaps the safest method to learn exactly how to inject is to have actually someone who knows what they’re act teach you. An competent injector deserve to walk you through the process of injecting, or probably even show it, and also prevent you from making any type of dangerous mistakes. If possible, discover someone who you to trust to mentor you v this process. And talk with other injectors about the assorted tips and wisdom about injecting they’ve picked up end the years.


Hopefully, there room things in this manual that will be new and advantageous even to those of us who have actually been injecting for a long time. However, reading about how to inject and actually law it are two various things. If friend are brand-new to injecting, we deserve to only caution you to read this manual thoroughly before you begin and to walk slow and be aware of everything you’re doing. If the risk of injecting drugs appears too dangerous after ~ you’ve review this booklet, deciding not to carry out drugs via injection is a harm reduction response that we whole-heartedly support.



Intravenous injection (mainlining), or injecting a substance straight into the bloodstream with a vein, is among the fastest methods to provide a drug into your system. That is also the riskiest method to use in regards to overdose (as contrasted to sniffing, smoking, or dental administration) because the entire dose beginning the body as whole and an extremely quickly. Injecting intravenously usually provides the user a “rush” the many world report come be very pleasurable, a sensation that does not happen with intramuscular or subcutaneous injection. While every injection an approach carries its very own risks, mainlining is may be the riskiest since it create a straight opening between the bloodstream and also the exterior world. Heroin, cocaine, and also amphetamine room three drugs that are typically administered intravenously.



People who inject drugs regularly have one or 2 favorite places to inject—sites that feel the many comfortable, are straightforward to access, and also where you almost always acquire a clean struggle on your an initial try. When it might seem awkward at first, the is necessary to learn how to inject in other locations that might not seem as comfortable or easily accessible on her first couple of tries. If you keep injecting in your favorite spots over and over without letting the veins repair themselves castle will come to be leaky, making your shot less satisfying and also harder come hit; could become seriously infected; and will at some point collapse or scar so badly that they come to be altogether unusable and also interfere with circulation. So, it is very important to turn the website you use to inject. Shot to usage a new site for each new injection and go ago to sites you’ve currently used only after they’ve had time to rest and repair themselves.


In addition to finding out to inject in new places, the is additionally important come learn exactly how to inject with either hand so the if the veins ~ above one side of your body need a rest or room otherwise unusable, she able to inject into the veins on the other side of her body—even if you must use her non-dominant hand to perform it. The next time she in withdrawal and also really require to obtain off but can’t find a vein in your usual spot, you will do it be thankful you teach yourself how to inject right into the other arm!



Any time you inject intravenously, you threat pushing bacteria, fungi, and also any other infection-causing microbes that space on your skin directly into your bloodstream. It is as such extremely crucial to completely clean your injection website prior to acquiring off. Alcohol pads job-related well for this purpose, yet be sure to wipe in just one direction and also not in a circular motion which will cause the dirt and germs to stay on her skin. Rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or level old soap and water or any other form of clean agent or disinfectant likewise work fine. Be certain not come touch the injection website with her fingers after you’ve cleaned it. Routinely cleaning the skin before injection is just one of the most important things you can do to minimize your risk of endocarditis, blood poisoning, and similar infections (discussed in chapter 3).



Use gravity to carry blood to the limb you’re walk to usage to inject before applying your tourniquet (tie): totter or hang your arms, make a fist, etc. Tie your tourniquet in together a way that it have the right to be easily removed if necessary. Try to secure ‘rolling’ veins choose those in your forearms prior to you inject right into them. Finally, be sure not to leave the tourniquet on for as well long. If you feel your limb becoming numb or notification it turning blue, undo your tourniquet and also don’t retie it till you’re prepared to inject.



Insert the needle into your vein with the needle bevel (opening) dealing with up, in ~ a 15 to 35 degree angle, and always in the direction that the heart. The much more perpendicular the needle is come the injection site, the higher chance you have of difficult the needle v the vein rather of into it. (See illustration on complying with page.)




Once you think you in a vein, traction the plunger back to check out if blood comes into the syringe. If so, and the blood is dark red and also slow moving, you know that did you do it hit a vein. You have the right to now untie your tourniquet and also proceed come inject her drugs. If no blood or only a very tiny lot of blood comes right into the syringe once you pull back, you’re not in a vein and also will have to untie your tourniquet, pull your needle out, and try again. If you continue to inject there is no being properly positioned in a vein, you will do it be placing your drugs right into the tissue surrounding the vein, under the skin, or some other place. It will most likely be painful and also become swollen, and the results of her drugs will certainly come top top much more slowly. You additionally risk abscess formation and other feasible problems.

If yes sir too much blood in her shot to tell if you’re correctly registering, break-up the shot into two and also dilute each fifty percent with water. If the plunger of your syringe is forced ago by the press of the blood and also it is bright red, frothy, and also ‘gushing,’ girlfriend may have actually hit an artery. Remain calm and slowly draw the syringe out and elevate the limb. 

Some civilization like come ‘boot’ your syringe after ~ they’ve injected their drugs—that is, pull ago the plunger, attract blood into the syringe, and also re-inject it. Some injectors choose to perform this number of times, ostensibly come rinse out any type of drug equipment that continues to be in the syringe. Because of every the blood involved, you might want to refrain from booting if you recognize you’re walk to be cleaning her needle and syringe and allowing someone else to use it. Be sure to completely flush her needle and syringe with water after ~ booting if you plan to re-use it at a later on time, so the blood doesn’t clog the needle.



After you’ve successfully injected her drugs, very closely pull the needle the end of the injection site at the very same angle at which the went in. (To minimization bruising, girlfriend should have actually untied your tourniquet before you injected her shot.) use pressure to the injection site to stop any kind of bleeding. If you’re getting off in a publicly place, that is a an excellent idea to have some tissue, gauze, or Band-Aids roughly so girlfriend don’t get blood almost everywhere your clothes. Don’t usage alcohol pads top top a new injection wound: alcohol will reason it come bleed more, no less.



Don’t use creams, salves or oil you use to treat your track marks or bruising until the injection wound has begun to near (a couple of hrs after injecting) otherwise girlfriend might reason an infection. Law missed shots (those that finished up somewhere other than in your vein) immediately with a heat water soak or compress to alleviate the likelihood of irritation and abscess formation. Warmth will open the capillaries and also bring disease-fighting white blood cells to the influenced area.



Cocaine has a numbing result on the veins and also causes them to constrict (shrink), therefore if you’re shoot coke, you must be extra careful to it is registered properly and also make sure you’re in a vein prior to you inject your drugs. Also, possibilities are the if you’re shooting coke, you’ll be injecting many times in a short duration of time with perhaps only several minutes in between each injection. This have the right to be traumatic on the veins and also the surrounding tissues, and an outcome in a the majority of bleeding.

Try to use a sterile, spicy needle because that each injection;make certain you keep your injection equipment separate native anyone else’s you’re obtaining off with;and shot to offer the area a an excellent rest because that a couple of days.

You may experience part pain and swelling after ~ such intense activity.



Because crack comes in a solid form (rock), the is important to dissolve the first. The safest means to do this is v powdered citric or ascorbic acid–ask your local syring service program or health and wellness food save where to find it. Prevent lemon juice or vinegar, together these deserve to lead to serious infections.

To dissolve crack: placed crack and citric or ascorbic acid (about a pinch to a slab) in the cooker; add plenty that water; mash and mix well. Shot to only use as much acid as you need, due to the fact that extra will dissolve your drugs, and acid deserve to be really hard on her veins.



Because speed is often reduced with together dangerous chemicals, it is an extremely important not to miss your shot. Skin-popping speed deserve to be an extremely painful, may cause an abscess, and will take it a lengthy time for the body to absorb. If you get the shakes after doing a few shots, it might be beneficial to have actually a girlfriend inject friend if you space not making use of alone. Due to the fact that the quality of speed varies therefore dramatically, a tester shot is a good idea.



for selecting Intravenous Injection Sites 

The adhering to is a break down of possible intravenous injection sites, beginning with the safest choices and relocating toward the the very least safe ones.

ARMS: Arms, first upper climate lower, are the most safe sites for injecting. You need to be mindful to for sure the ‘rolling’ veins in the forearms before you inject into them. Arms space also great if you’re concerned about hiding her injection or track marks (although wearing lengthy sleeves in the summer deserve to be a drag!).

HANDS: Hands are somewhat less safe than arms since the veins are substantially smaller and more delicate and also therefore more likely come bruise or end up being damaged. Circulation is additionally slower in the hands, causing healing to take longer. If you’re getting off in your hands, be sure to usage the thinnest needle feasible (highest gauge) or, if friend can find one, a butterfly needle. Be vigilant about rotating the sites, and also keep in mind the it is daunting to conceal injection marks and also bruises on the hands.

LEGS: Circulation in the legs might be poor, specifically in people who don’t use theirs a lot. Veins in the foot are an ext likely than those in the arms to build clots that have the right to obstruct circulation and also eventually break off and also lodge in the lung or heart. Also, damaging the valves in the foot veins is more serious 보다 damaging those in the arms since they beat a greater role in getting blood back to the heart.

FEET: as with the hands, the veins in the feet are normally smaller than in other parts of the body, and also close come nerves, cartilage, and tendons i beg your pardon you want to avoid hitting when you inject. Due to the fact that they room farther from the heart 보다 the veins in the hands, arms, and also legs, blood circulates much more slowly in the foot veins and they thus require an ext time for healing and repair. In addition, foot sweat and dirty socks action to prevent wounds native healing and also increase the chance of epidemic from bacteria.

GROIN: The femoral vein in the groin area is a large and relatively easy vein to access, yet its place near the femoral nerve and the femoral artery make it quite a risky location to inject. Amongst the three, the femoral vein is located closest to the groin, v the artery and also then the nerve situated as you relocate outward. If you going come inject into the femoral vein, an initial locate your femoral artery— where you perform not want to inject—by detect the pulse. Then relocate a brief distance towards the within of her leg to discover the femoral vein. Since it lies fairly deep, girlfriend will most likely not have the ability to see it however will need to inject right into it without seeing whereby the vein is.

NECK : The jugular vein in the neck is the riskiest location to inject because it lies an extremely close to the carotid artery, a significant blood vessel the brings blood directly to the brain. By chance hitting the carotid artery can be fatal, and also damaging the jugular vein in any means can interfere through blood circulation to the brain.




(Numbered in bespeak of safety) 




Know whereby You’re Hitting


 MORE tips FOR choosing AN appropriate INJECTION SITE 

Taking ideal care that the veins in her arms and also other safer areas will avoid you from having to shoot increase in much more dangerous ones.You have to avoid making use of veins that room tender, hardened, or inflamed till (and if) lock heal. Heat compresses and also the use of appropriate creams can help speed the healing process.The larger and much more visible the vein, the easier and safer it generally is come hit. Deep veins room harder to hit, and trying to access them rises your opportunity of hitting a nerve or artery in the process. ~ above the various other hand, it might be daunting to store a needle correctly positioned in a really shallow vein, resulting in you come accidentally skin-pop her hit.Areas that room farthest from the heart, prefer the hands and also feet, heal the slowest and also have the poorest circulation. Locations nearest come the heart (like the groin and also the neck) have veins the are situated near significant arteries and nerves which, if by chance hit, can reason serious, life-threatening damage.Injecting close to a bone rises the possibilities that swelling and also pain will certainly occur.



You constantly want to inject into a vein and never into an artery. Veins are blood ship that bring blood native the four times of the body ago to the heart and also lungs where it becomes re-oxygenated. Veins have actually no pulse, and also the blood they bring is a deep, dark red since it is low in oxygen. Arteries carry blood well-off in oxygen indigenous the lungs and also heart to all the various other parts that the body. Arteries have a pulse, and the blood in them is shining red and frothy. Arteries are situated deeper in the body than veins and also so room not clearly shows as numerous of her veins are.


You’ll recognize you fight an artery if: 

The plunger of her syringe is forced earlier by the press of the blood.When girlfriend register, the blood in her syringe is shining red and also ‘gushing.’ Blood in veins is dark red, slow-moving, and also “lazy.”It hurts differently from her usual injections

You have the right to avoid hitting one artery by:

Never injecting wherein you feeling a pulse.Injecting only right into surface veins and not trying to hit those that lie deeper.

What to execute if friend hit one artery: 

Untie her tourniquet and pull her needle the end immediately.Raise the limb above your head to prevent the bleeding, if possible.Apply firm push to the wound because that at least 10 minutes.If bleeding continues, use a bandage or towel wrapped really tightly roughly the wound and also seek medical attention immediately. The lose of blood from hitting an artery have the right to be life-threatening if it’s not stopped.


Veins vs. Nerves 

Unlike part veins, nerves space not clearly shows from outside the body, although you will definitely know if did you do it hit one when injecting since you’ll experience excessive pain and also no blood will go into the syringe when you pull back to register. You may feel an electric “burn” along your limb.

 Hitting a nerve can be really dangerous and result in paralysis or the loss of a limb. The a good idea to recognize where your significant nerves are so that you can avoid castle when acquiring off.


Exercises for boosting Vein Visibility

If you the strong type, engaging in the following tasks can help make her veins more visible from exterior the body.

Push-ups, pull-ups, and other exercises that strengthen the armsWeight-lifting, an especially bicep exercisesSqueezing tennis ballsWrist curls


Some tips because that “Getting Veins Up” 

If you’re having an obstacle locating a vein come inject into, you could want shot one that the following:

Put a heat compress on her injection site for 5 or ten minute to aid bring a vein come the surface. As soon as you’re cold, it deserve to be very complicated to accessibility a vein. (If you’re gaining off in a restroom or in other places where there’s not a lot of heat, don’t unroll her sleeve or uncover her injection website until you’re prepared to inject.)Lower her arms below your love or swing them in a circle.Lightly slap the injection site.Wrap your limb in Saran Wrap for a couple of minutes. This trap the heat and causes veins to rise to the surface.Caffeine and also nicotine deserve to both constrict veins. Try injecting prior to you’ve had actually your an initial cup the coffee and/or cigarette. If you have had a cup the coffee or a cigarette, wait around 30 minutes to try injecting again.Remain calm. It deserve to be incredibly frustrating to be can not to acquire a hit, an especially if you’re in withdrawal. Chances are gaining upset will certainly only increase your difficulty, so take it a couple of deep breaths and start end again in a calmer state the mind.



Some drugs, including injectable steroids and hormones, must be injected into a muscle instead of a vein, yet heroin and also other opiates can also be administered utilizing this method. The physical and psychoactive results that result from an intramuscular injection the a medicine come on much much more slowly than those of one intravenous injection (half one hour come forty-five minute versus nearly immediately), back the overall, accumulation intensity of the effects and the experience are virtually identical. Also, the “rush” that is created when drugs prefer heroin are administered intravenously is not skilled by individuals who inject intramuscularly.

Most if not every one of the epidemic control and also other safety and security precautions intravenous medicine injectors have to follow also apply to people who inject drugs intramuscularly. Muscle-popping to produce much less bleeding 보다 intravenous injection, if any kind of at all, yet the danger of transmitting viruses and other blood-borne bacteria together a an outcome of needle-sharing is as serious as that is through intravenous injection. In addition, muscle-poppers space at high threat for abscess formation, especially if what castle inject has any type of particles in it whatsoever. Once muscle-popping, that is extremely necessary to inject just a systems that is as particle-free as possible.

Many the the building material that need intramuscular injection come pre-prepared in liquid form. To protect against contaminating your whole supply (especially if you’re share it through someone else), be sure to use only a sterile needle and also syringe when drawing the fluid up from the party in which that stored. Muscling speed or cocaine is an extremely painful and also dangerous, and is most likely to cause an abscess.



The buttocks, thighs, and upper arms are the three best sites, respectively, for intramuscular injection. The best is in the deltoid, the muscle on your upper, outer arm wherein your shoulder and your eight meet. If injecting into the butt, mentally division each cheek into four equal sections and inject into the top right or top left outer section of each cheek. Girlfriend can additionally use the front surface ar of your thighs about six inches over your knee to about six inches below your hip, or the outer surfaces that your upper arms in between your shoulder and also your elbow. Constantly be mindful to stop nerves, blood vessels, or bones, and rotate injection web page to avoid bruising, abscess formation, and the like. It is not unusual for her muscle to be sore because that a few days ~ an injection. 


Be certain to carefully clean the injection site before injecting (see ‘Mainlining’ section over for an ext detail).



Try come relax the muscle prior to injection. This will result in a less painful injection and may protect against the soreness you normally feel the adhering to day or two. When injecting right into a muscle, insert the needle in one fast stab straight into the injection website at a 90° edge to the body. Practically the entire needle should get in the muscle. You certainly want to draw your plunger earlier slightly come make certain no blood comes right into the syringe. If blood go appear, did you do it hit a blood vessel and need come pull out and try again. Inject her substance slowly.



Pull your needle the end in the very same direction and angle at which you inserted it. Since you injected right into a muscle, there must be little if any kind of bleeding. You might want to apply a Band-Aid in any case to protect against infection. Massaging the area easy for a few minutes will help the medicine absorb and also reduce the pain. 


Hormones are to be injected only into the thigh or buttock muscle. As soon as injecting, be cautious of nerves, veins, and bones. The buttock is the most common place world inject. You deserve to switch buttock cheeks to stop bruises and also sores. After friend inject into these muscles, you might be sore because that a day or two.

Do no inject much more than the prescribed amount; it will certainly not speed up your treatment process. Girlfriend can cause serious liver damage and also increase the hazard of blood clots. Blood clots can show up in the veins of the legs and also can travel to the lungs; this is dubbed Pulmonary Embolism, which deserve to be fatal. World who exhilaration cigarettes and also inject hormone are much more likely to build Pulmonary Embolism. (This ar taken indigenous Positive health Project’s “Safety Guidelines for Injecting Hormones.”)


 S K i N – p O p P ns N G ( S U B C U T A N E O U S i N J E C T i O N ) 


Skin-popping is the injection the drugs between the body’s skin and also fat layers. Favor muscle-popping, the effects of her drug will certainly come on much much more slowly 보다 if you will do injected the intravenously, and you will certainly not endure a “rush.”

Skin-poppers need to follow every one of the epidemic control and other security precautions the intravenous and also intramuscular injectors need to follow. Although like with muscle-popping, skin-popping outcomes in tiny or no bleeding at the website of the injection, the risk for bacterial or viral epidemic is genuine if injection equipment is shared or drugs space not prepared and injected hygienically. Also, skin-poppers room at substantially increased risk for abscesses, specifically if injecting crushed pills or another solution v particles in it. When skin-popping, the is critical to use just a solution that is together particle-free as possible.



The upper and also lower arms and legs are probably the finest locations because that skin-popping.



As always, thoroughly clean the injection website with alcohol, soap and water, or various other disinfectant prior to injection. 


Slide the needle under your skin in ~ a shallow angle, 15° to 45° in ~ the most. Inject no an ext than 1⁄2 cc of fluid (half the the volume of a 1 cc syringe) to form a small bubble under the skin. If her hit is more than 1⁄2 cc, inject right into two or an ext sites. The bump from the equipment you injected will progressively decrease as the fluid is absorbed into the body, and also should disappear completely within a couple of hours. Skin-popping can be uncomfortable, and the bump you produce may pains a bit. If friend skin pop wherein the skin is loose, pinch the skin in between your thumb and forefinger and put the needle right into the skin you’ve pulled up.

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Pull her needle out in the same direction as it walk in. There have to not be much bleeding in ~ the injection site as soon as skin-popping, yet you might want to apply a Band-Aid to stop infection.