Injecting is the least common way of using drugs but the most dangerous.

Drugs that are injected are mainly of three kinds: opiates like heroin, sedatives and tranquillisers and stimulants (amphetamines and cocaine). These may well be mixed to combine their different effects. For example, a mixture of heroin and cocaine is called a speedball.


Any drug that is to be injected needs to be dissolved into a solution. Sterile water is the safest choice, however brown heroin is more easily dissolved in acids such as lemon juice or vinegar.

The problem here is that both these substances may contain bacteria or become contaminated. Also, lemon juice has been associated with thrush and other fungal infections which may lead to loss of vision and heart conditions.

Vitamin C is thought to be the safest acid to use, though it still has dangers. For more information on safer injecting see the Exchange Supplies website

When injected into a vein, all the drug enters the blood stream and some is carried directly to the brain, producing a noticeable effect within seconds. For these reasons the onset of the drug’s effects (the ‘rush’) is quicker and more striking after injection. Drugs like heroin or cocaine for injecting are usually injected directly into the vein. Other drugs such as anabolic steroids are injected under the skin or into muscles. Spoon used to dissolve & heat heroin in solution

The major dangers of injecting are overdose; infection from non-sterile injection methods (including hepatitis, AIDS and other diseases transmitted by more than one injector sharing the same needle); abscesses and gangrene caused by missing the vein when injecting; and damage from using crushed-up tablets and other dosage forms not meant to be injected.

For some people the ritual of injection may become as important as the effect of the drug, and if no drugs are available almost anything will be injected including warm water.

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