Drug injection is a method of introducing a drug into the body  (usually veins, but also muscles) with a needle and a syringe. 

Injecting is also referred to as "shooting [up]", "banging", "slamming", "pinning", or "jacking-up".

Some people inject because the full effects of the drug are experienced very quickly, in around five-ten seconds. This shorter, more intense high can lead to a dependency, both physical and psychological, developing more quickly than with other methods of taking drugs. 

For your safety, if you’re thinking about injecting or if you already inject, try to minimise risk.

Needles can carry a whole swag of life-threatening and fatal infections (known as blood-born viruses) such as hepatitis B and C and HIV/AIDS. To minimise the risk of infection, always use a clean needle and never share needles with other users. 

Don’t assume that experienced users are practicing safe injecting techniques. Remember it is always possible others may be too substance effected to know they may not be using safe injecting techniques. 

Injecting among drug users plays a major role in the transmission of HIV/AIDS all over the world. Fortunately, in response to the global spread of HIV/AIDS, Australia implemented clean needle programs before many other countries. As a result, Australia’s levels of HIV/AIDS infection among injecting drug users has remained low; however, the risk of contracting the virus or hepatitis B or C is still very real.

Consider a safer alternative to injecting.

Many people who do prefer to inject drugs still  make sure they look after theirs and other peoples health. Here are some things you can do to further minimise the risk of injecting to you and others -

To further minimise the risk of transmitting blood-born viruses
  • Always wash your hands before handling injecting equipment
  • Clean the area you plan to inject as best you can (wipe it down with warm soapy water or sterile swab)
  • Carry more needles than you think you might need – not to use them all, but to avoid situations where you might find yourself without a needle and be tempted to use someone else’s equipment
  • Always use a lower dosage when unsure about purity of substance
  • Use wheel filters when possible
  • Use cotton not cigarette filters
  • Put lids back on used syringes
  • Rotate injecting sites
  • Do not inject near major arteries
  • Consider a safer alternative to injecting
  • Get advice from youth drug and alcohol workers, call YSASline 1800 014 446 

Needle Syringe Programs (NSP’s) operate in every state. These centers offer clean syringes and safe injecting equipment as well as information about safe injecting and ‘sharp bins’, where used needles can be safely disposed, there are areas that offer mobile outreach, delivery and pickup of used syringes. YSAS runs a needle exchange program at Abbotsford Day Program.  Most “YSAS programs will provide you access or support to access clean injecting equipment”

Try to dispose of syringes through Needle Syringe Programs. NSPs are a free service and rely solely on return rate of syringes to keep them going.

For more information or where you can get support go visit the Drug + Alcohol Support page.

If you need more information on injecting you can visit the Vic Drug Guide website.