How we help Advice and support Harm minimisation advice Safer injecting Advice We feel obliged to point out that there is no safe way to inject drugs, and we would therefore suggest that you don't. Having been around that block a few times ourselves, we are realistic enough to understand that if you are going to do it then you're going to do it. With that in mind, here are some simple tips to make a dangerous practice as safe as is possible . . . . Never inject alone. If you overdose, or suffer a related health problem (like a heart attack) it could cost you your life. If you are injecting opiates, make sure you have naloxone to hand. It can save you life in the event of an overdose, and you should be able to obtain it for free from your local treatment provider. If you have had a period of abstinence or have just been released from prison, and are going to inject drugs, be cautious and start with a very small amount. Tolerance to drugs drops very quickly. Going for the big one straight out of the blocks can kill you. Use you local needle exchange or chemist to get new and sterile injecting equipment. Don't rely on previously used needles and syringes because it's quicker. Never share any equipment. We don't just mean syringes and needles, we also mean spoons, torniquets and filters. Everything in fact. The purity of drugs changes all the time. If it's a new batch or from a different dealer, test its strength first. If you are injecting regularly, then rotate your injecting sites. Frequently injecting in the same place can damage the veins permanently, and increases the chance of getting abcesses and ulcers. If you can't get a vein in your arm, think about taking the drug in a different way. There are very few drugs that don't have more than one route of administration. Injecting in the legs, groin, neck or other parts of the body greatly increase the chance of developing serious, and often irreversible health problems, deep vein thrombosis being an example. If you miss the vein the first time, or hit the bottom of the spoon with the needle while preparing a hit, change the needle. Use sterile water to prepare a hit, or failing that, tap water. Do not use bottled water or anything else. If using acidifiers to break down a drug, heroin for example, only use citric acid or vitamin C powder. Do not use lemon juice, or any other acidic substance. If you cannot obtain filters from you local needle exchange, the best alternative is the filters sold for use with rolling tobacco. Do not chop the end from a tailor made cigarette or use substances such as cotton wool. Do not crush tablets for injecting. There is no way to filter all of the particulate matter prior to injection, and it is extremely dangerous. Don't front-load if you are sharing a hit. It's an easy way to pass on blood borne viruses. Use as wide a torniquet as possible, and don't pull it too tight. Perversely, it makes the veins harder to find. Always release a torniquet before injecting a drug. Don't inject more than one drug at a time. It greatly increases the chance of overdose, or other unexpected health problems.