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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Will My Vein Fix Itself from Shooting Drugs?

06/25/2010

Question:

I am going to be honest. I have just started injecting oxycontin into my arm. I have been dong it for about a month. I know that when a vein is broken it will bruise your arm and it will sting for a while. I have not had these issues yet, but I cannot draw back any blood into my injector when I have it in. It is very painfull and my arm is sore. I can feel the vein under my scar tissue on my skin so I know I haven`t ruined my vein yet. What could be the problem with the vein for it to do what it is doing? I don`t understand and I am worried I have ruined my vein in my arm. I am ill so I have to get many blood draws done and I have only that one vein that we can draw from. If I did damage it a bit, if I lay off the needle will my vein fix itself?

Answer:

Intravenous injection of "cooked" medications meant to be taken by mouth is always a dangerously bad action.  The vein that is painful and that you can feel is likely inflamed and clogged with venous blood.  That is why you cannot draw blood from it.  There is a chance that with time and absolutely no needle use, the vein might recover.  Often the blockage is permanent.  As you are "ill" and need to use this vein for medical reasons, your continued using it for drug abuse is unacceptably risky.  Eventually , blood with only be available for venous draws from the neck, under the collar bone or in the groin.  Your choice.

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Response by:

Deborah L Hoy, CNS Deborah L Hoy, CNS
Clinical Instructor at the College of Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University

Tom Hartwell Pepper, MD Tom Hartwell Pepper, MD
Formerly:
Medical Director of Ohio State University Addiction
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University