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Old 20-02-2010, 01:44
Woody.Brown Woody.Brown is offline
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Finding veins

Swim has been an IV drug user for 13 years and needless to say has destroyed her veins during this time.

Swim's arms, legs and feet are all written off. Her hands tend to have rolling veins and have never been much use. Swim can only get into her groin on the right hand side...never found her left, but since a recent DVT is nervous about using this route. Swim has been going in her stomach (area between hip bones) for some time now but these veins are also giving up on her. She doesn't skin pop, IM or smoke/chase.
Do any swimmers know of ways of finding veins that Swim may not have come across. (She's an experienced injector so has tried the usual warm baths and exercise etc to lure out reluctant veins)

Swim is obviously in a desperate state, using 4-5 times a day to stop withdrawals. She doesn't want to increase her methadone as she is going into detox and rehab in 3 weeks time and they won't take her in on any more than 80mls. Swim is only going to be using for another 3 weeks then hopefully after treatment she will be out of this addiction for ever.

Woody x
Old 20-02-2010, 02:00
RetroHousewife RetroHousewife is offline
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Re: Finding veins


Even though SWIY is an experienced user, this thread has some info about finding veins that she might find useful.

It goes without saying that SWIY needs to be well hydrated. Drinking lots of water may help, or it may not. However, with someone is at all dehydrated, it's much more difficult to stick a vein.

Last edited by RetroHousewife; 20-02-2010 at 02:04. Reason: Trying to fix link
Old 20-02-2010, 17:40
Helene Helene is offline
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Re: Finding veins

Hey there Woody.Brown, welcome to DF.

I've gotta say that the best advice anyone could give you would be to stop injecting. But of course this is far easier said than done, and you must know that this is the best option already. The fact that you have had a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) already makes me rather concerned, as this is a good indication that your veins are in quite a bad state already. I'm sure that you already know that how dangerous DVT's can be, so I won't go on about that, save to say it's best to completely avoid injecting into any veins in your legs, as having had a DVT before puts you in a much higher risk category for suffering one again.

So if you're gonna keep injecting for the next few weeks, until you go to detox and rehab, the best thing you can do is try and stick to shallow, superficial veins. You mentioned in your post that you still have veins in your hands, but that they tend to roll away. Are you trying to hit them with normal 1ml insulin syringes? If so, get hold of some insulin syringes with half length pins. Most 1mls have a half inch (12.7mm) length needle, but it is also possible to get syringes with a third of an inch (8mm) length needle. These shorter pins are much, much better for hitting little veins in your hands, and are especially good for getting those rolling veins. Ask your local chemist or needle exchange, hopefully they'll be able to point you in the right direction for getting hold of some. Otherwise, a quick online search will find you stockists.

When hitting smaller veins makes sure you inject much more slowly than you normally would, and always release the tourniquet completely before injecting, as smaller veins blow much more easily. Make sure you're not tying the tourniquet too tight, remember that you need to let blood into your arm through the arteries. If you tie off too tight, it will actually make it harder to get a vein, rather than easier. Firm pressure is all you should be applying, enough to stop the blood returning up your arm in the veins, but not enough to stop blood getting to your arm through the arteries. Tourniquets can make a huge difference, and using the right tourniquet in the right way can make a huge difference. A DF member called Pinksox once recommended a type of tourniquet called a "roller", which works well for those with veins in an absolutely terrible state. Do a Google search for "BOA constricting band", they're fairly cheap and available to purchase online.

Instead of aiming at the areas on your hand where the skin is pushed up by the vein, aim slightly further down the course of the vein where the skin is flatter, as the vein is less likely to roll away there. What sort of state are your wrists in? There are a couple of pretty good veins on the back of your wrist, but these can be kinda tricky to get, again because they roll a bit. Try hitting them from the side, with one clean sharp stab. If you have any choice at all, try to avoid the veins leading up the side of your fingers and thumbs, as these blow so easily. But if you've no other option, just apply all the above advice to them, but even more so - use small gauge, short length needles, release the tourniquet before you inject, and inject very, very slowly.

I hope some of this advice helps you out, someone I know has a lot of empathy for you, as she is in a fairly similar situation herself. Good luck with everything, and I really hope the detox works out for you, and is not too painful.


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good,helpful advice,great post

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