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. Bill

     /  March 24, 2015

    URGENT _ URGENT_ URGENT_URGENT_URGENT_ URGENT _ URGENT _ URGENT I injected subutex in pinky knuckle 7 days ago… At first nothing happened. Two days later the finger became cold…MUCH COLDER THAN THE REST OF MY FINGERS. Third day it started to turn white on the inside finger pad and become numb. Fourth day the pad of my finger became slightly wrinkly, like it was waterlogged. Now for the last two days it is different variations of purple or white depending on the temperature I keep it, It is also becoming slightly painful, the way a bad bruise would feel. There has not been any swelling at all, so that is not a symptom. I went to the hospital on the 5th day and the doctor wrote Junkie on the chart… the only thing on it besides the information i filled out at registry… so i left before being diagnosed. PLEASE HELP?!?

    • Dear Bill, Im so sorry to hear whats happening! It must be frightening. But hang in there – now, you know we are not doctors but we have come across hundreds, even thousands of peoples injuries over the years and we always discuss these issues amongst us whenever it is possible. It actually sounds like you have done some damage by injecting the crushed subutex into a vein that perhaps was just too small and it could be that sediment from the tablet has blocked up the vein or capillaries somewhat. It was interesting you said there was no pain upon injection, so that usually would rule out an artery. The coldness and the whiteness of your little finger really does sound like lack of blood supply. Try and encourage your blood circulation by keeping warm, cut right back on your smoking (if you smoke) and massaging and exercise your finger where possible. However, it does warrent going back to the doctor. It is typical for drs to write ‘drug user’ on your notes, its fucked I know, and it often carries a lot of prejudice with it. You COULD go again to a dr and say, this was your first hit and feign ‘innocent syndrome’ so you at least dont get the bad attitude that comes with some drs treating ‘junkies’. If it is still white and the colour is not coming back – it is very important you go to the dr, as you could be losing blood supply to the finger which could have very bad consequences…Remember though, we are not drs here at BP, but it does sound like either blood supply is being lessened OR there was liquid from the hit which missed the vein and is, through being too much liquid in a small space, again preventing blood supply reaching the tips. Good luck. If the colour is coming back – you may have been very lucky and the sediment is moving about and dissolving. There are many sites about injecting subutex -the dangers and the safest way possible (there is no safe way to inject tablets). Do you filter? Do you have access to wheeel filters for pills? You can buy them online. which is a discussion from other drug users. theres quite a few good ones out there. if you have any trouble finding info – please do get back to us and ill search out some sites for you – in the meantime – I think you really should get back to the doctors -remember, be really nice, polite, (im sure you are) but after many years as a ‘junkie’ you can get to know how to ‘engage’ with doctors. Its wrong but sometimes you have to work hard to get them on your side. It can be really worth doing. Dont ever tell them more than they need to know. But always try and make them understand and support you – look for their weak spot and try and make them conect with you. Its fucked I know – but its your heath that really needs protecting here. A shitty doctor is not going to help. good luck, BP xx

  2. *URGENT*
    Its been about a month now that someone tried to hit a vein in my wrist. My middle finger has since been going numb and extremely painful and tingly anytime I use my hand or touch my wrist against anything and even the smallest amount of pressure is applied. It is not going away and Im afraid to go see a doctor about it due to how it happened. I dont know what to do or if it will go away. Please help if possible. Im getting scared.

  3. jade

     /  February 19, 2015

    I shot up yesterday in the van that is between my ring finger and my pinky on my right hand and now it is so swollen I can’t even close my hand I need advice on what to do. I don’t want to have to go to the doctors unless it’s absolutely necessary. Is there any advice.

    • jade

       /  February 20, 2015

      I did it on top of mu hand betweeqn my pinky knuckle and my ring finger knuckle. It hurts something bad and I can’t close my hand. It is red and swollen a lot. It Looks like I got into a fight and I punch something or someone.

  4. So I injected in my left forearm. got red n was sore. redness went away lumps still there and still very sore. Tried my right arm missed again same thing redness not sore tho. So I tried my left again and where I missed the first time turned blue where the lump was.. what does that mean ? N it worried me so I stopped and then where I poked myself is also red n kind of poofy but no lump because I just pulled the needle out. My skin is kind of clammy now mabye just because it scared me a bit but idk what to do neither miss seems to be infected just sore.. any advice ??? I’d really appreciate it thanks

  5. I’ve never been too successful using my hands but wrist works pretty good. I’m old school so I’m not up on the latest. When I went to prison I lost all my old peeps. I’d like to make friends who I could relate to on my level and vice versa. I’m 45, blond, with a pretty face, and a thick figure with some junk in the trunk (for a cracker!) Lol.

  6. **URGENT** injected into my left thumb on top where those smaller 2 veins are that run across through to your haind. I had it in the vein the whole time & flagged multiple times while injecting. Blood was definitely rushing in every time. When I pulled it out, after fulling loosening my belt, it was like intense fire pain and my thumb is now swollen. It took a day for it to get this swollen and now it’s even made a third of my hand and palm swollen. Did i hit a nerve? Did I do something wrong? I used a once-used 1cc insulin syringe and was injecting subutex. This has happened once before but NOT to this degree. Please help me! I want to know how to help it dissipate! URGENT**

    • Boris Sirob

       /  January 28, 2015

      This happened to me last night. The swelling has gone down, but fire is the only word to accurately describe the feeling. I wonder if it has to do with the type of dope. This stuff was some dirty smack, it was blueish purple, in fact. But thats my 2 cents, i’ll keep you posted to my progress.

  7. hopper

     /  December 4, 2014

    I believe I shot in my artery it didn’t burn or anything until I got done injecting and then my thumb felt like it went up in flames. Now my thumb is swollen at the end above the first line I can still bend it somewhat no other fingers or anything is infected should I go to the er or will it go down after a while? I’m super freaked out.

  8. stan

     /  October 28, 2014

    I just shot maybe 10ml at the most, probably less, into an artery between my wrist & palm of my hand, i felt fire & instantly stopped but my hand & fingers has ballooned up so much i cannot come close to making a fist with my hand… i dont know if i should use heat to try to increase circulation or cold to reduce swelling.. barely any went into the artery so I dont understand how there is so much swelling.. how long should it take for swelling to go down? what should i do? ice or heat? or heat then iice or ice then heat? should i try to bend my fingers? hold it above my head or below my heart? try to take some blood thinners? i have never had this happen & am scared

    • Hi! I hope we arent too late for you i cant see the date. Here is some excellent text from the terrific blog HEROIN HELPER and i hope it helps a bit (

      The moment you determine that you have injected into an artery, you should stop. If you have not flushed all of the contents of the syringe, stop flushing the syringe and remove it from the injection site. The less that is injected into the artery, the less damage will be done.
      Ice It!
      As soon as possible, the injection area should be iced. Since this limits the area to which heroin spreads, it will also limit the swelling of the tissue and the amount of tissue that is damaged.
      Massage It!
      Massaging the area that has been affected also can be helpful. This encourages the flow of toxins out of the tissue. The user must be careful, however. This should only be done as much and as intensely as is comfortable. It is possible to do further damage to the tissue. Don’t follow the philosophy, “No pain, no gain”!
      Long-Term Care
      After 24 hours, the swelling of affected area should have gone down substantially. It should be within 90% of normal. Even though the area will look much better, the user should still monitor it and treat it until the area is completely normal.
      Ice? Heat?
      Professional opinions differ regarding the long-term care of the swollen tissue from an arterial injection. Some say that the patient should continue to apply ice to the area. Others say that the patient should apply heat to the area. Still others say that the patient should alternate applications of heat and ice. All sources agree, however, that ice should be applied for the first 24 hours.
      Massaging can also be used in the days following the arterial injection. The same precautions taken immediately following the injections should be taken later.
      One thing should definitely be done: keep the area clean. How often the sufferer cleans the area will depend upon his environment and activities. It should be done at least once a day. This should be done gently with soap and water, under most circumstances.
      If the wound is opened–this is called a fistula and is normally a sign of an infection–it should be rinsed with hydrogen peroxide. Sterile syringes work very well for this purpose.
      Medical Attention
      If after 24 hours, the swelling has not reduced substantially or it is still quite painful, the user should seek medical attention. The body responds quickly to a normal arterial injection. If it has not repaired itself within a day, it means something more is wrong that should be investigated.

  9. I don’t think it’s urgent, but I injected in my hand and it’s SLIGHTLY inflamed but only in the upper left part of the back of my right hand. It has also restricted the movement of only my pointer finger. Any help would be greatly appreciated, I don’t know how worried to be or even the best way to take care of my hand right now.

    • It sounds like it is a ‘missed hit’. It should just go down but it can depend on what was injected. If it continues to get redder, hot, sore and swollen, you will need to get treated at the docs im afraid – antibiotics…if it swells, is red but is NOT hot or sore, it could be coping itself and will go away in aat couple of weeks. if it is just an average missed hit which is a collection of fluid not infection, under the skin, that should be gone in a day or 2, sometimes in a couple of hours. Good luck with it! You could try ice to reduce swelling as well…(frozen peas are great) BPx

      • Nikki

         /  December 2, 2014

        Frozen peas for a missed hit? I thought you were supposed to use hot compresses? Heat… not cold. No?

  10. Renee

     /  October 22, 2014

    I shoot up meth and it seems the only places I can go is my hand or neck. But my hands have about had it. Does any have any suggestion on where else I could go? Its so hard to hit me that no one wants to even try and when they do I either bruise or swells up even with it not missing at all. My friends say its not meant for me to shoot dope maybe there right and I hit my self today and I think I hit a artery and vein at the same time the blood was light at first then it got real dark when I pulled back to check a second time cause I had a pain and tingling feel for a second but it didnt hurt,After I pulled out the spot was hot and alittle red and swelled for like 10 mins. I dont know im kinda new at doing this by myself I only been shooting like a year

  11. 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.

  12. 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 !`

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

      Read more:
      Follow us: @NetDoctor on Twitter | NetDoctorUK on Facebook

  16. 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

  17. 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?

  18. 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!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,450 other followers

%d bloggers like this: