Shooting Heroin: Risks and Long-term damage

shooting heroin - the risks

What is shooting heroin?

For those who decide to inject heroin rather than smoke it, the commonly used term is ‘shooting up’.

This means directly injecting the drug into your veins using a needle and syringe. 

Those addicted to heroin will take it in this way because the effect is much quicker – the substance goes straight into the bloodstream and is carried immediately to the brain.

There are two main types of heroin:

Powdered Heroin

  • This comes in powder form and is usually snorted or smoked.
  • It is usually thought of as being white, like cocaine, however it can vary in colour depending on where is is made.

Black Tar Heroin

  • Making heroin leaves behind a tar-like substance.
  • This is melted and injected directly into the blood stream.

Heroin is highly addictive, and even with the knowledge of its risks, those struggling with addiction will ingest it in any way that they can.

What are the risks of shooting heroin?

There are many health complications associated with injecting heroin – not only due to the drug itself, but the often unhygienic needles used to inject the substance.

If the syringes are not cleaned properly or used by a medical professional then it can cause infections in the skin and blood.

Similarly, if an individual injects too shallow, then the heroin can collect underneath the skin and cause infections and abscesses.

If left untreated, these abscesses can worsen, needing skin grafts or even amputations if medical assistance is not given.

Heroin is incredibly acidic which means that when it is in the bloodstream, it can cause internal and external bruising, vein collapses, and swelling.

Long-term damage of shooting heroin

If heroin is injected over a long period of time, then the veins can stop working.

Those with severe addictions will try and inject in other parts of the body as a result.

Heroin can cause some of the most severe long-term risks to an individual’s health.

If syringes are left unclean, or shared between multiple users, then there is a very high risk of the following diseases:

Without proper care, heroin users can contract life-threatening habits and diseases.

If you or someone you know is addicted to heroin, they need to get help as soon as possible.

If you are concerned about your own health, or the health of someone else, call emergency services on 999 immediately.

Residential rehab is the most effective way of recovering and getting the urgent medical care you need. Click here for more information on the best rehabs in the UK.