Injecting in the Hands

Injecting in the Hands – Tips for Taking Care

REMEMBER; Black Poppy DOES NOT advocate the hands or fingers as a reasonable place for injecting but we recognise it is the most common site for people to use after the forearm. ROTATION of sites is the key to longer lasting veins, so try not to overdo one place, just because it might be the quickest point of access for a while… ROTATE, ROTATE, ROTATE!

OK, so there are many who’ve been shooting up in the hands, fingers and wrist for quite a while – after all, it is the place many of us go when our arms have finally given up. While all the literature tells us ”just say no’ – the reality is that many injectors said yes to using their hands long ago. If you do shoot here, remember the important issues.

Your hands are full of extremely shallow and delicate veins and arteries that are inside every finger and thumb as well as the hand and wrist and a massive collection of nerves that could cause severe problems for you if damaged.

Scarring on the hand area appears to be more likely for women than men but injecting here is still a very risky and often painful business yet one that is almost as common as a using site as the forearm.

Never leave rings or slim fitting brace lets/bangles on while injecting in this area. If a ring is left on and you accidentally hit an artery your hand and inject into it, it will swell up rapidly and you may be unable to get your jewellery off in time. Your ring or bracelet can then stop all blood flow causing tissues to ‘die’ – what we know as gangrene. Just missing your gear will cause your hand/finger etc to swell, and a ring or bangle that obstructs any blood flow can still cause gangrene. So take your jewellery OFF if you must do your shooting in the hands. It only takes a minute and if you’ve ever seen how fast someone’s hand can swell after hitting an artery, you’ll understand why it’s a lot safer to just take your rings off first.

Always use a spike that is thinner in diameter (gauge) than the vein you are using. In

showing the blood flow to the hands

women and many men this often means sticking with a one ml insulin syringe for practically all hand veins. Exchange Supplies has some excellent information about the size and gauge (width) and bore of needles (click here) and there are loads more sizes than you think, which are well worth talking to your needle exchange about stocking.

Inject much more SLOWLY in the hand area and check out a venous chart to get to know your hands well from the inside.

The hands are the place where an enormous amount of germs congregate and this particularly goes for between the fingers. These small places are often missed when washing hands so be sure that you don’t forget to give them a good clean before thinking about injecting in your hands or, more dangerously, the fingers.

Long term injecting in the hands leaves circulation to the hands hampered and you can suffer terribly from cold hands. Keep them warm, moisturised with a good hand cream and if you can, use a cream for healing scars. There is a really excellent one called Huirodoid which is specifically for injecting/thrombosis issues, healing the vein area itself from the inside first and we can honestly vouch for it working really effectively. Calendula is also a terrific natural cream that also works well, for healing scars and inflamed sites. There are also special camouflage creams that (mostly) are prescribed by doctors, and are fantastic to help  cover track marks; it’s all about getting the right tone in your camouflage cream, and needs to be chosen correctly to cover where it is either red or blue discolouration (for example) that you are trying to hide.

Be sure not to use anything other than a one ml insulin syringe. Be gentle, go slowly, not over knuckles, and don’t go deep or you could hit an artery. Keep your syringe at approx a 45 degree angle and don’t poke around. There is more than one artery in every finger. There are also a lot of nerves too. We have known people to do permanent damage to their hands from hitting nerves, especially when using a larger spike, so best keep it to a 1ml insulin sized needle.

showing the network of arteries and veins in the arm to hands

Not only this but the hand is one seriously obvious place to have your track marks shown off to the world.

REMEMBER; Black Poppy DOES NOT advocate the hands or fingers as a reasonable place for injecting but we recognise it is the most common site for people to use after the forearm. ROTATION of sites is the key to longer lasting veins, so try not to overdo one place, just because it might be the quickest point of access for a while… ROTATE, ROTATE, ROTATE!!

Needle sizes and shapes

It really is worth finding out more about the huge variety of sizes and shapes of needles – especcially regarding the gauges. The gauges used for injecting range from 30G (the finest and most flexible) to 21G (the thickest and least flexible commonly used gauge). The different gauges are allocated a colour so that people can tell the difference more easily.

The needle gauge colour code works as follows:

* yellow – 30g (thinnest

* grey – 27g

* brown – 26g

* orange – 25g

* blue – 23g

* black – 22g

* green – 21g (thickest).

To read more about this, and find out what syringes are best for the job you need, click here to Exchange Supplies’s website. You can order syringes by the large box, and learn what’s what to encourage your local needle exchange to buy in what you and your mates need.


Leave a comment


  1. Kristina

     /  September 2, 2014

    I’m worried one of my family members are using drugs intravenously . I keep finding wads of bloody toilet paper with blue substance. I’m curious what the blue color is. . .

    • Dear Kristina,
      Im sorry to hear about your concerns. It is very frightening when we think some we love is injecting. You didnt say what country you come from? sometimes that can make a big difference for us if we are trying to analyse what might be going on as some countries use different combinations, mixtures, different methods etc..Wads of bloody toilet paper with blue substance…what does the toilet paper and blood stain look like? Is it a very small blood stain like it might be over an injecting site? I cant think what bloody toilet paper -with blue on it could be…? GHB can be coloured but pople dont inject that so there shouldnt be blood on the same tissue. Could the blood be coming out of the nose? You might have to actually gently confront the person and ask them outright. You would have to think pretty fast to come up with an answer for what is blood plus blue stuff on loo paper. Ill go and ask our international list of INPUD colleagues as see if anyone knows what it might be. Ill get back to you as soon as I can, couple of days. Hang in there – at first glance it soundsmore like they might be using it on a sore or pimple or something then they also put iodine (i think that can be blue or yellow) on it or some chemist cream or liquid. That is all it might be. Ill get back to you but consider asking them, they maybe able to produce the blue cream or liquid and its all very innocent?back soon, BP

      • Hi again, i have got quite a number of replies from very experienced user activists and noone seems to think it could be a drug. It would certainly serve best to gently ask the person if they have a health problem that is doing this and you are worried for them and could you help in any way? That would probably be your best option. we really dont think it is drug related. Are there lots of other worrying signs? If this is it then im sure it is all very innocent. good luck and do come back if your worried further. We dont suggest spying on your loved one in any way and it certainly wouldnt help a drug user – best advice is always a gentle chat offering lots of love and support BPx

    • Dexter

       /  September 10, 2014

      If it’s light blue it could be the 30mg oxycodone pills.

  2. Brusher

     /  May 27, 2014

    At the end of the day, you will lose an arm, a leg, a hand- there are no `good `ways to inject.
    I was on snowballs ( speedballs for you USers) for 24 years; the veins become more blocked and broken, you use every type of needle, your habds look like boxing gloves and the only place to end up is in your groin.
    Everyone i grew up with who had similar habit is either fucked up or dead.
    The greatest junkie of them all was Keith Richards as he used the best gear and injected in the fat of his ass- as for his coke hit ???
    Jack Bruce went our route and has fucked his body; so much so the Hep got him but he was lucky enough to get a liver transfusion.
    Just say-`i would REALLY REALLY love to….but NO !`

  3. Chris

     /  April 25, 2014

    first time shooting I was told by some dumbass that the back of my hand was the best spot -__- my hand swelled up like a motherjumper last night when i shot it i assume I missed a shot but it substantially (sorry about my spelling) went down. Still have pain in my hand and my wrist it hurts a decent amount and really sucks balls URGENT

  4. pamela torres

     /  March 7, 2014

    I lost my left wrist and hand due to injecting into my artery.
    It swelled, and died…I’m still in shock over it….
    Stay away from the wrists

  5. Ashley J Reeder

     /  January 11, 2014

    When anyone misses a.shot i’ve used alcohol every time u think about your sore miss an in a few days after applying the alcohol on cotton ball every chance you get it seems to take the hottness, swelling, an big bump away.

    • Without a doubt te 1st best thing is Hirudoid, in a cream and gel. Both contain heparinoid, which is a similar to heparin, the blood thinnner used to prevent blood clots. Hirodoid is used to improve circulation after bruising or soft tissue injuries such as injecting. Honestly, this stuff is THE BUSINESS for injecting bumps, swellings and redness. But remember, anything tat is hot to the touch is INFECTED! Alcohol will be good for removing any chance of an infection taking hold so its great to always swab the site BEFORE injecting, although the latest research says that it is better to use a tissue for AFTER the injection as alcohol slows down the clotting process -and thus, the healing of the site. But keeping anything clean if it slightly red and sore is a good idea but remmeber wit alcohol you are killing the good bacteria as well as the bad. Thans for writing in. BP x

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  6. summer

     /  October 7, 2013

    I shot into my wrist in the artery where they check ur pulse my uand got so hot like 130 degrees what happend please respond

    • Jeez, yes it truly is awful and one of the worst things about injecting; is it avoidable – yes it is. I would presume you were using a long spike? when going anywhere in the superficial veins one should really never use anything other than either a 1ml insulin syringe or, for guys or those with harder to find veins, a small orange -(25G x 16mm or 5/8 inch long). There is a few others inbetween these two, click this link for detailed list and check out our page on injecting in hands for a look at vein and arterial issues. Re your question tho, and i guess this wont help since this answer wasnt available to you immediately after you posted, but after 24hours most of the swelling should have gone down – now if it hasnt – then you definitely DO need to seek medical treatment. But if it should ever occur to you or a mate again -sources agree that ice should be applied immediately. Here is a nice quote from the Aussie user magazine NUAA; “Blood in veins travel to the heart and arterial blood travels away from it. So any particles in your mix go straight to your limbs and bodily extremities when you inject into an artery. These particles get stuck in your capillaries (which are tiny blood vessels little bigger than the size of blood cells), cutting off your circulation. Eventually, lack of blood flow causes the tissue to die….Instead of going to the brain receptors where they give you your buzz, opiates will react with the muscle tissue that the arteries are supplying. This causes swelling, redness and tissue damage. Eventually the opiates might find their way to the right receptors, but this could take hours if at all (ed-in other words, you definitely wont get stoned by injecting here although hours later you MIGHT realise you arent exactly sick)..The biggest long-term concern about injecting heroin into an artery, is that blood clots may form. Blood clots can stop the flow of oxygen to near-by tissue–causing the tissue to suffocate and die and this is why some people end up weeks later losing fingers or toes. Unfortunately pieces of a blood clot can break off and lodge in another more dangerous location like the brain, causing a stroke or lung, but if this happens -it mostly happens right there and then, just after the injection. So if someone hits an artery and soon collapses or feels very weird, DONT hesitate and ring an ambulance. Really hope your ok! Please check out venal charts -see where your arteries are located and where they are near veins so you avoid this happening. We will publish a page on it soon but here is an excellent website for info on this and other things:

      • ps – im yet to find out why exactly it feels so damn hot when it happens. There is the theory that there is more pain receptorslinked to the artery than the vein, but why so hot? Anyone know the answer, please do write in! Thanks! BPx

  7. forsakengoddess

     /  March 25, 2013

    I missed on my finger & its really swollen,to the point its numb also blistering what do I do & how long will it stay this way?

  8. louise

     /  November 30, 2012

    How can my husband inject tight vain leftarm.


We try and reply as soon as we can but please understand it might take anywhere from 1 day to 1 month, but we will always try our best. Mark URGENT if you require a fast reply. Thanks for your understanding!

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