If you are injecting drugs and are not
ready or willing to stop, it is important to inject as safely as possible.†
These steps can help you avoid infections.
AVOID SHARING & RE-USING:
- Do not share syringes or works,
including cotton, cookers, water (for mixing or rinsing), or ties
(tourniquets), as they can transmit HIV and hepatitis.
- If you are sharing drugs with someone
else, do a dry divide on a clean surface before you add the water.†
- Keep everything separate from your
drug using partners, including your syringe, clean workspace, works,
etc.† Do not let the other personís
syringe or fingers contaminate your works.
- Prepare your own shot and inject
yourself, to avoid getting bacteria from someone elseís hands.
- Do not re-use syringes and works, even
- They can damage your
veins and cause infections.
not save/hoard cottons to use for later when you canít get any dope, as they
can transmit bacteria into your veins.†
local syringe/needle exchange program is a good source for filters.†
something like a cigarette filter or a used filter can give you cotton fever.
your shooting & rinsing water separate, and do not reuse water containers
without cleaning them thoroughly.
- Mark your syringes and works, if you do
save them, to prevent others from getting HIV or hepatitis.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before
preparing your shot.†
- Prepare your shot on a clean surface,
such as an unread section of newspaper or magazine, or the middle of a pad
- When your shot is
ready, only lay it down on a clean surface, otherwise, it can pick up
- Clean your skin where you are going to
shoot with an alcohol pad or soap - before shooting.
- Bacteria can enter
your blood if you havenít cleaned your hands or the skin where you inject.†
- This can travel in
your blood and infect the valves or lining of your heart.
- This can also
contribute to painful abscesses.†
- Also, donít lick the
needle, or your skin where you inject Ė your mouth has lots of bacteria.
- Cook your dope for at least 15 seconds
to kill germs and avoid infection, about the time it takes to sing Happy
Birthday.† Cooking will not make
your drugs evaporate.
- Avoid muscling or skin-popping your
shot, as this can cause painful abscesses.† Use a tie to find a vein.
- Rotate your injection site, and never
shoot into an abscess.† The sooner
you treat an abscess, the better.†
If skin swells after injection, apply ice.† If it doesnít go down in a day or two,
seek medical help.
- Shoot in the direction of the flow of
blood, which is toward the heart.
- After shooting, stop the blood with a
clean cotton pad, paper towel or tissue, not an alcohol pad.†
- Using an alcohol pad
after shooting will keep your vein open to bacteria and viruses.
The best way
to protect yourself from other diseases is to quit injecting. Ask us about
treatment if you are ready.
If you canít quit, we encourage you to change one or more of
the ways you inject drugs.
inject drugs unsafely, you place yourself at risk of getting other strains of
HIV and other diseases, like hepatitis.†
Pictures courtesy of CRA - See the full guide @