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Injecting is where you put a drug into your body using a needle and syringe. Usually the drug is injected into the vein but sometimes it is into the muscle.

Injecting is also known as ‘shooting up’, ‘banging’, ‘slamming’, ‘pinning’ or ‘jacking-up’.

One of the reasons that people might inject is because the full effects of the drugs are felt very fast, in about 5 – 10 seconds. This high is shorter but more intense and can lead to someone becoming dependent, physically and psychologically, more quickly than if they were taking the drug in a different way.

If you are thinking about injecting or if you already inject you need to try to keep safe.

Injecting risks

Needles can carry life-threatening and even fatal infections (blood borne viruses) such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. To keep the risk of infection low ALWAYS use a clean needle and NEVER share needles with anyone.

Just because someone is an experienced user, it does not mean they are using safe injecting techniques. Being substance affected may also affect their ability to know whether they are not being safe. Sharing injecting equipment between drug users increases the spread of HIV/AIDS. In Australia, in response to this global health issue, clean needle and syringe programs were created. This has helped keep the level on HIV/AIDS infection among injecting drug users low.

Reducing harm

• Do NOT share needles
• Always wash your hands before handling injecting equipment
• Clean the area you plan to inject as well as you can (soapy water or alcohol swab is best)
• Carry more needles than you think you might need, so you don’t have to think about using another person’s equipment
• Always use a lower dose when you aren’t sure about the purity
• 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
• Think about trying safer ways to use (instead of injecting)
Needle and Syringe Programs (NSPs) can be found in every state. These spaces provide clean syringes and safe injecting equipment as well as information about safe injecting and ‘sharps bins’ where you can put used needles so they can be safely disposed of. Some services provide mobile outreach, delivery and pick up of used syringes. YSAS runs a needle exchanges program at Abbotsford Day Program. Most YSAS programs will be able to provide you access or support to get clean injecting equipment.

Try to get rid of your used syringes through Needle Syringe Programs. NSPs are a free service and rely on the return rate of syringes to keep them going.