Drugs can be abused in several different ways, but one popular route of administration is intravenous. Intravenous (IV) drug use, also nicknamed shooting up, is the act of injecting a drug directly into a vein. Several abused drugs can be injected intravenously like meth and cocaine, but heroin is the most well-known intravenous drug. Once someone starts abusing drugs intravenously, formal residential addiction treatment is typically necessary.
One of the benefits of IV drug use for drug users is that it often provides a more immediate and intense high than other means of administration. Although more pleasurable for the user, IV drug use can also be dangerous and lead to serious complications. If someone you care about is showing signs of IV drug abuse, get them help immediately before more serious problems arise.
Signs & Symptoms of IV Drug Use to Look for
While the exact symptoms and signs of IV drug use can vary from person to person and depend on the drug being abused, there are some commonalities.
Some common signs of IV drug use include:
- Skin abnormalities
- Modest clothing
- IV drug paraphernalia
- Abnormal behavior
Because repeated injections in the same place can be damaging to the skin, there are often several physical signs of intravenous IV drug use. Needle tracks also known as track marks are common and can range in appearance from scars to bruises. Other physical signs of IV drug use may include abscesses, ulcers, or swelling. These intravenous injection sites could become infected and lead to even life-threatening problems if left untreated. Contrary to popular belief, IV drug use is not confined to the forearms either. Other common areas of injection where skin abnormalities or track marks may appear include the hands, feet, and neck.
Track marks and skin abnormalities are common among regular IV drug users, so many will wear modest and conservation clothing to cover up these scars and bruises. Because many users will also use several areas of their body for injection, this may result in full-body coverage. A common sign someone is shooting up drugs is when they wear these modest outfits even in hot weather and refuse to take off unnecessary layers.
IV Use Paraphernalia
Another tell-tale sign of IV drug abuse is the presence of specific drug paraphernalia. Common IV drug paraphernalia includes needles, burnt spoons, a lighter, cotton balls, rubbing alcohol, and some type of tourniquet. These supplies may be hidden to avoid suspicion.
Although not confined to IV drug use, another major warning sign of drug abuse is a change in behavior. These changes can take many forms but may include becoming withdrawn, frequent lying, and aggression as well as unusual sleep or eating habits. In some cases, when regular drug users go on binges, they often don’t eat, so another physical sign of shooting up may also be unhealthy weight loss.
Now that you know how to tell if someone is shooting up drugs, trust your gut. If you suspect someone you care about is using drugs, they probably are. At Vertava Health Mississippi, we want to help you and your loved ones work toward a brighter future. IV drug use can be dangerous, so try to get your loved one help as soon as possible. We offer various addiction treatment programs in DeSoto County to help them overcome their substance use and start moving forward.