Drug injection  

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"Bill Gains threw in the towel and moved to Mexico. I met him at the airport. He was loaded on H and goof balls. His pants were spotted with blood where he had been fixing on the plane with a safety pin. You make a hole with the pin, and put the dropper over (not in) the hole, and the solution goes right in. With this method, you don’t need a needle, but it takes an old-time junky to make it work. You have to use exactly the right degree of pressure feeding in the solution. I tried it once and the junk squirted out to the side and I lost it all. But when Gains made a hole in his flesh, the hole stayed open waiting for junk." --Junkie by William S. Burroughs

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Drug injection is a method of introducing a drug into the bloodstream via a hollow hypodermic needle and a syringe, which is pierced through the skin into the body (usually intravenous, but also intramuscular or subcutaneous). It often applies to substance dependence and recreational drug use. Typically, the powdered drug is mixed with water to create a solution, and then the solution is injected. This act is often colloquially referred to as "slamming", "shooting [up]", "banging", "pinning", or "jacking-up", often depending on the specific drug subculture in which the term is used (i.e. heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine).

Although there are various methods of taking drugs, injection is favoured by some users as the full effects of the drug are experienced very quickly, typically in five to ten seconds. It also bypasses first-pass metabolism in the liver, resulting in higher bioavailability and efficiency for many drugs (such as morphine or diacetylmorphine/heroin; roughly two-thirds of which is destroyed in the liver when consumed orally) than oral ingestion would, meaning users get a stronger (yet shorter-acting) effect from the same amount of the drug. This shorter, more intense "high" can lead to a dependency—both physical and psychological—developing more quickly than with other methods of taking drugs.

As of 2004, there were 13.2 million people worldwide who used injection drugs, of which 22% are from developed countries.

An alternative to syringes in the 1970s was to use a glass medicine dropper, supposedly easier to manipulate with one hand. A large hairpin was used to make a hole in the skin and the dropper containing the drug (usually heroin) was inserted and the bulb squeezed, releasing it into the tissues. This method was also reported—by William S Burroughs and other sources—for intravenous administration at least as far back as 1930.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Drug injection" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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