Injecting in the Hands

Injecting in the Hands – (and arms) and Tips for Taking Care

We massively updated this section (Dec 2015) and I hope we have provided a really useful place from where to get a grip on this delicate process.

REMEMBER; Black Poppy DOES NOT advocate the hands or fingers as a reasonable place for regularly injecting but we recognise it is the most common site for people to use after the forearm.  If you must, then learn to do what is a delicate and potentially dangerous thing, as safely as possible. There are 3 main things to keep in mind that are of uppermost importance when injecting in the hand area.

NOTE: Click here for our new section on images and videos showing details on the veins of the body above the wasit -with some great 3 dimensional videos , to show the safest way of locating and accessing veins.

Your Main 3 Considerations:

1) Hygiene: Sterile equipment (or your own clean equipment at least) – and hand washing. A lot of germs sit in between fingers and on our palms, thumbs and under nails. Washing your hands well before a hit is critical here because an abscesses that forms in the hand area can quickly become more dangerous than in other areas of the body, due to the lack of skin area here able to deal with added infectious liquids etc. Nerve damage can result, or even amputation of a finger. So always wash hands before and after, if you are a hand injector (see tips below).

2) 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, tempting as it is to go to the easiest place. Ideally, if you use your hand, try and avoid them next time to let them heal -or at least use the other hand. Thy get sore quickly from overuse, so ROTATE, ROTATE, ROTATE -change hands, change sites, change limbs!

3) Needle size is the 3rd main point. Always, always and only -use a 1ml (or 0.5ml) insulin syringe in the hand area. The needle must be as fine and thin as possible, and boy, does it make a difference to how long your veins last when you use the smallest needle for the job. To buy needles and syringes in the right sizes from a great harm reductionist / user friendly company, click here.

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, there are a few more important areas to remember.

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 very painful business yet one that is almost as common as a using site as the forearm. So, lets go through the stages, bit by bit and examine best practice around hand injecting. It can be done safely, and is probably okay if only done occaisionally – they do it in hospital all the time -(obviously not with street powders..) so learn as much as you can to do as best as you can -and always pass on good info to your pals. Like we do!

Preparation Issues -Before your Injection:

Hydration: We rarely talk about this but drink – drink as much water and is comfortable and a bit more maybe. It really helps vein care and actually hitting a vein if you are properly hydrated -and not dehydrated from drinking alcohol all night, using to much coke etc. If you have -use your head and hydrate -you will find your vein easier.

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 jewelry off in time –especially rings. Your ring or bracelet can then stop blood flow at a time when you desperately need to get blood to the capillaries. This can cause tissue to ‘die’ – basically 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 if you can’t get it off, or it takes too long to get off. So take your jewelry OFF if you must do your shooting in the hands -better not to wear any at all so you don’t forget to remove it. 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 ditch the rings full stop.

Then -wash your hands thoroughly in WARM water -be mindful of slimy (germy!!) soap -avoid it -and wash especially inbetween the fingers. Air /shake dry. Use alcohol swabs if hands are dirty or you have no water (see more on swabs in tips below).

If you have trouble getting a vein up -and if you are reading this, chances are you do, in order to make palpating /finding the veins easier – place a heat pack or hot washcloth over the area. It causes vasodilation as blood attempts to cool itself by pooling to the surface in your veins and hence makes palpating and injecting easier.

hands at waist level vs eye level (1)

See how the lower you have your hands -below waist height -how much more the veins stand out? Left Pic: Hands at waist level Pic right: Hands out at eye level Click link for more on injecting from a medical student -thanks to him for this pic.


Locating a Vein: A Nurses View

Watch this really helpful video below (8mins) from a nurse about how to find the best veins in the arm and hand, the ones they use in hospital and why, how to avoid a rolling vein,  and other useful advice.



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

showing all the blood flow to the hands

As mentioned, for women and men this really means sticking with a one ml (1ml) or half ml (0.5ml) insulin syringe for all hand veins.

Inject much more SLOWLY in the hand area than you would for the arm and check out a venous chart to get to know your hands well from the inside. Be gentle, go slowly, never over knuckles, and never go too deep or you could hit an artery. Keep your syringe at approx 10 -30 degree angle (for hands) and don’t push deeply downwards! Use  your fingertips to FEEL the vein, that can be as or more important than actually trying to see it.

Choosing/readying your site:

(Thanks to for a large part of the following tips -its slightly medical language, but we have edited and tried to make it more user relevant)

    2. When looking for veins, always try and rely on your sense of touch first. Seeing veins is always a good hint of where to go, but a vein should feel soft and spring back – even more so when the tourniquet is placed above it and other preparation measures are applied – and often sight can be deceptive as less suitable, superficial veins will seem more appealing.
    3. For regular venipuncture, the cubital fossa is often a good place to look first (see vein pics). Care must be taken not to inject the brachial artery, but the veins are often large and always closer to the surface. However, sturdier and/or more promising sites are the forearm, the dorsum of the hand and a vein on the radial border of the distal part of the forearm (although the wrist veins are usually small, painful and restrict movement). The cubital fossa is more susceptible to kinks but it is ok for injecting into.
    4. There are deceptive muscles and tendons in your hands that will feel like veins. So get the patient to flex a few times if you’re trying to differentiate between a vein and muscle.
    5. Forked veins seem to roll less but remember – they often have valves by the forked area. So instead of going in, go slightly proximal to it (in order to avoid valve yet still get a vein that is less likely to roll).
    6. Place the tourniquet about 20cm proximal to a promising site. Too far will not ensure enough pooling and too close may just constrict your entry point. It is generally considered safe to have a tourniquet on for five minutes maximum before ischemia becomes an issue – though I wouldn’t risk getting too close to that time, and wouldn’t tighten it too much. Remember you need to stop the vein blood flowing back up the arm -so it stays in the limb area -but it MUST NOT be so tight that you stop the arterial blood flowing to the limb. In other words -the blood needs to go out -but not back. Too tight -and it is stopped flowing -and the veins will disappear even though your hand is swollen.
    7. Look for already straight veins. Pulling the vein straight won’t do anything when choosing a sight or when injecting, as it will revert to its original position.
    8. Vein Valves can be tricky: All the veins in your body have valves. You can find the valves by running your finger slowly along a vein.  A valve allows blood to flow in one direction only. When shooting up, if you locate the valve, inject either above it or below it, never into it. However, they are feel-able as small dips as you pass along a vein. Avoid hitting these at all costs as they are very hard to navigate out of and injecting may damage them.

Look here for your vein road map -and check out the other image near the end of the article. We are still hunting for the best image of hand veins, arteries and nerves in one, easy to read image.Let us know if you find one?


9. Tap the vein gently in order to vasodilate the veins. Doing so will cause slight stress in the vein to release NO which is a vasodilator as well as histamine from mast cells which have the same effect. Rubbing gently has a similar effect and is actually more effective on cubital fossa veins.

10. When sterilising the skin with alco-wipes, allow at least 30 seconds for it to air dry. Not only will it allow more bacteria to be properly dealt with, it’ll mean the stuff won’t sting if it gets pushed into the vein. Fanning or blowing it will only increase chances of infection and cause the alcohol pool up in areas, potentially increasing the stinging as you inject.

Going In and Getting it Right:

You’ve picked your spot and have it fully prepared. You are comfortable, and your hand is balanced safely. Now all you’ve gotta do is get in there.

11. To stop vein from rolling away, pull the skin and muscles a few centimetres from the vein taut. Do not attempt to straighten the vein overtly, as, as I’ve mentioned before, it will retract to its usual state as you inject anyway, causing tissuing and more pain.

12.  As you inject, the best angle, in my experience (and that of the best jabbers I’ve talked to) is anywhere between 10 and 30 degrees. Also, a quick jab as you pass through the skin is most effective in reducing pain – although taking it slow after you hit the vein wall is essential. You don’t want to jab through the other side. It is critical to make sure your syringe is NEW -sterile, sharp and yours!

Don’t forget to point the bevel up towards you!

cannula close up

13. If you do not see the flash of blood, do not immediately remove the needle. Attempt to withdraw the needle a few millimetres in case you went to deep. The needle may be resting on the opposite vein wall, so doing this will ensure quicker blood flow into the needle during the injection in particular.

14. Palpate, or press your fingertip around the needle to see where the vein is and where you should go if you need to adjust it further. Though painful, in our experience (and injectors will know this), “digging around” for the vein after you’ve missed is less torturous than having the needle reinserted elsewhere -but in the hands -never dig deep and be gentle.  If you are using a 1ml -in the back of the hand -it will help you avoid doing this as the spike is so short. If you must go again -make sure your syringe is sharp -new preferably. It makes a world of difference to a good outcome. Stock up from your local service.

15. If you do happen to miss, remove the needle as usual and immediately press down with tissue (not swab) to prevent blood seeping into tissue. Alcohol swabs are for before injections -not after -the alcohol slows the clotting process, making the site heal slower. (see our updated abscess page).

16. If you have missed, try the other hand, or choose a spot that is proximal to the elbow on the arm as it will not be impacted by the miss further down on the vein as severely.

TAKE THE TOURNIQUET OFF AS SOON AS BLOOD IS DRAWN and you start pushing your liquid in!  Enjoy!

Fingers and the End of the Injecting Road

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.




Pic by Dr Sobotto of the arteries and nerves in a finger

We are regularly warned to avoid fingers, and when you see the pic above and the small area for arteries and nerves sitting next to our finger veins (see below), you can see why.  As the BP crew are ex and current users just like you, we know that when times are tough, we use fingers, thumbs, palms and hands, and that’s just being honest. But, you can really see how careful you have to be -why it is sooo important to be clean, steady, have the smallest spike and syringe, use your tourniquet properly -and rotate injection sites regularly.


Veins in fingers -looking hand side – with fingernail

Avoid fingers -there’s no doubt its dangerous territory -if things have got that bad re finding a vein -consider the French -and stick it up yer bum! Suppositories are extremely popular in many parts of the world -as the next quickest acting way to administer a drug bar smoking. You can even get a slow rush -ok it is slow but it is a rush -if you put it in the right place in the anus -approx 1 inch up (squeeze it in or lie on side ) And don’t forget friends – put it in another syringe -without the spike!


Up Yer Bum –links  Good info on how to do it with your drugs -this is especially good if you have blood clots in your syringe



fascinating look at the arteries of the hand -there is info from us in the comments section on what to do if you hit an artery as well as other info and advice.

Creams and Hand Care

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 and brusing issues, healing the vein area itself from the inside first and we can honestly vouch for it working really effectively -as well as being great for varicose veins!. Calendula and arnica are also a terrific natural creams that also work well, for healing scars and bruised or 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.


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

Needle Length and Thickness

It really is worth finding out more about the huge variety of length and width of needles – especially regarding the gauges -the thickness/width. The gauges used for injecting range from 30G (the finest and most flexible -like the Nevershare 1ml) going backwards 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 discreetly 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. Megs

     /  September 9, 2016

    Hi. I have used iv heroin, crystal meth, bath salts, and crack and vinegar/lemon juice for about 19years. I have been clean for about 1year and 4months and have noticed that my hands…more my right…Are very swollen and red. It hurts to write anything longer than 3sentences…I am scared. I went to the doctor and they thought it was rheumatoid arthritis but that came back negative. I’m freaking out maybe o just did really bad damage or something…can’t tell you how many times I’ve poked for hours trying to find a vein and how many misses I have had…hands…boobs…neck…wherever. Please. ..any suggestions maybe i can even tell my doctor what I hear so she can look into it further? Thankyou for your time

  2. Ryan Griffin

     /  September 5, 2016

    Okay I’m having a very hard time finding a vein anymore I’ve been a hard user for almost ten years now and I’ve literally hit every vein you can think of but lately I’ve been finding small veins in my hand but now they are getting more and more difficult to find and my hands are always swollen now so please help because I’m running out of options thanks

  3. Micheal Jamison

     /  August 31, 2016

    I’ve experienced an electric shock like feeling on an injection site on the side middle of the elbow towards the outside,it completely took away my rush and I felt as if we’re sober,and I noticed punching sensations in my extremities for an hour afterwards,was this an artery or a nerve and did I do any damage by experiencing that shock effect any insight would be greatly appreciated

  4. Shell

     /  August 22, 2016

    I miss in my hand. It’s very painful and a little p u puffy. It’s not hot to the touch. What do I need to do b4 it becomes hot to the touch.

  5. Amanda

     /  August 17, 2016

    URGENT I have been injecting drugs for 2 years now. Lately I have been going to the vein on my left arm, where it bends, on the inside of arm. The spot on my arm I go is closer to my body not the outside. Anyway for the last year I’ve suffered very bad nerve damage. Constant tingling pain numbness all in my hand. I’ve been seen by drs and mostly have that figured out. What I am wanting to know now though is lately, not every time, about 6 hours after I shoot up I’ll start getting this muscle ache kinda like growing pains along with numbness. And it’ll just get worse til finally I’m in so much pain I can’t move my arm hand fingers. Can’t sleep or concentrate on anything its so bad. I’ve tried elevating it Ice heat etc nothing works. Its also accompanied by these big red purplish dots on back of arm(which look like they are on veins) in same spot I shot up on inside of arm. This pain will last bout 16 hours non stop just horrific pain. Also I noticed when I shoot up in this spot, again not all the time, that when I push it in I get this very weird lil painful pressure. And when I get that feeling is the only time all this pain etc happens. And every time this happens seems to slowly get worse pain is lasting longer than 16 hours and getting lots more spots. Is there any idea of what might be going on? I’m getting concerned especially since I already have damage done to that arm. And any ideas to help when it happens? Naturally I’ve paid very close attention so I can usually avoid spot or try to. Any advice would help. I’m scared but more scared to see a Dr. They r just very aweful judgmental in this town n I can’t always drive an hour to b seen. Thanks.

  6. Maria

     /  August 10, 2016

    I have a friend who has been shooting coke for a few months now in her neck but both side have become very hard to get now. So today she tried two new places and didnt get such a great out come. Left hand ring finger right under knuckle, registered fine but now scared she hit an artery. Now she tried right arm inside she thought she had a vein looks just like one leading from juat under thumb side of palm to right near the inner side (part where arm touches ur body) right before elbowe. Everytime she uses that one its kinda burns how would she know that she hit an artery besides burning… No swelling or serious pain… Really no pai. Until afterward and only slight burning sensation. Helpppp… No veinsss!!

  7. wendy presley

     /  August 3, 2016

    I used the inside palm of my hand 4 tek. 2 days later I wake up and my hand is so swollen and tender and burns non stop. I have sum antibiotics. Dies anyone know a home remedy to get this pain to subside and make the swelln go away

  8. Missy

     /  July 25, 2016

    I shoot up subutex been using this area and couple times it’s in the palm of my hand. The lower part where my wrist and hand meet its looks like the blood is rising to the surface and there a blister in therror middle of it. Please help can’t go to the doctor with this and if my partner finds out the resonance where done please help thanks

    • Missy -it does sound like you may have an abscess – remember in the hands there is nowhere for all the infectious material to drain so its more likely to turn into a big mess that can damage nerves -sometimes permanently. You must go to the doctor – it will be a lot worse if you dont. Believe me – if you go now you might only need a course of antibiotics – if you wait though, you will end up needing it drained and a big scar left behind for you boyfriend to really inquire about! Are you filtering your subbies as well as you could be? Have you ever looked into buying WHEEL FILTERS? Have a look at this clip about them – they are filters for pill injectors -to get all of the shit out of the mix so you inject clear solution. They are expensive to buy at about £0.80p each but some countries will stock them in the needle exchange. If you are regularly shooting pills – for godssake – get some wheel filters and save your hands and limbs. Good luck and see that doctor ok?! BP x

  9. Vanessa

     /  July 23, 2016

    How long does it take for the swelling to go down after hitting an artery

    • I think it can vary a bit Vanessa so I dont really have an answer for that one, other than -if there isnt any other damage thats been done then it seems that most of the swelling goes down in the first 24hours but the hand/foot will remain slightly swollen and sore for days, and you may bruise a fabulous shade of purple.

      • URGENT!!!!After shooting in the same spot repeatedly my arm starts to swell up bad it doesn’t hurt but it swollen & I can’t put it straight there’s no signs of infecting well not that I know of but its bruised & swollen & its been like this for a couple days…

  10. i didnt really feel amiss but probably did to the top nof my right wrist,, hours later it hurts like hell and i cant really move it. well i cant move it soo painful ive read what i might have done to it but what can i do to make this go away? hot or cold compression. its only been hurting me for a few hours. will the pain go away buy tomorrow or should i just go straight to the er tonight? what are they going to do for me that i cant do. it was meth or dilidid im not sure, its been a long couple of days. please help ppplllleeeeaaaasssseeee help am i at risk of losing my hand ore wrist mobility.. URGENT URGENT

  11. kathy

     /  June 30, 2016

    I stuck the needle in my wrist and automatic got pain and didn’t do anything further but my wrist and round my wrist is swollen and hurts and it’s been 3days what do u suggest I do I don’t like going to dr. Because of the way they treat you I prefer to try and do what I can first this is kinda urgent I start a job in 2 days and I would like to be there

  12. Rajiv Soni

     /  June 19, 2016

    I just wanted to ask a question relating to my own hand problem.Actually I had used a glucose drip for about 3-4 days as I was in hospital for a treatment.The nurses changed the drip from one hand to another as sometimes they noticed swelling over the hand.And now it’s been a month since it happened but I think a vein (Cephalic vein) of my left hand is swelled from some parts (from the hand and from the elbow).
    What should I do in this case?Should I go to a doctor and get some treatment or it is a normal thing?

  13. Terrible pain

     /  June 15, 2016

    URGENT I injected meth into my arm the cephalic vein, it was a slight miss but stopped and then moved and then shot. However 24 hrs after had slight lump and bad pain when moving arm but not when relaxed. Now today the pain is there still the same but not I can hear a crinkling sound and feel it in my arm near site of injection and it has me worried is this normal? There’s not any discoloration or redness and there’s no liquid or fluids built up so I’m at a loss as to what I need to do and don’t or can’t go to ER for something that doesn’t really need to. Also it’s been 4 days

  14. What vein is in your lower arm / wrist area? Where you feel your pulse.. I injected there and it shot pain throughout my hand.. Help?!

  15. Jana Davis

     /  May 31, 2016

    I shoot meth in the underside of my wrist right in the middle then and now my tip of my thumb is kind of numb the tip of my pointer finger is getting Dumber tip of my middle finger isn’t too bad and my pinky finger is completely numb and tingly not sure if it was from that or from being tweaked and sitting Indian style for probably 8 hours color I’m pushing hard on the colored pencil also using that hand just want to know if it’s going to go away or did I really damage myself and it’s going to stay like this forever because it’s so annoying I’m trying everything I can to make the tingling stop the best thing I found is pressure and heat not sure what to do about it please help

  16. Big ricc

     /  May 26, 2016

    I missed an injection in my foot now it’s swollen and hurts to walk on and move toes.

  17. Ashleigh

     /  May 25, 2016

    I shot coke last night. I went in the back of my hand.i missed even though I registered blood.its swollen and hurts terribly.what do I need to do?

  18. Becca

     /  May 12, 2016

    I missed near my wrist,and it’s been swollen hard and red since friday (5 days ago) it’s very tender. How long until it goes away???? I’m so worried.

  19. I have been injecting in my hands for about 3 months they are so swollen warm red and hurt to touch something or to open a bottle of water.I have appointment to see a hand specialist but I am so embrass to even have him to look at them. They are bruised and so ugly. I was on antbotics but that didn’t work. Can u please help me. I don’t want to have my hands cut off. This is the only spot I can inject her I on into.I am always going to detox very soon and try it again.

    • Mike

       /  July 27, 2016

      I understand the embarrassment. Been there many times. But trust me when I say that you will feel so relieved once you actually get checked out and the embarrassment will go away immediately. Heroin use has become such an epidemic that the stigma is practically gone when it comes to seeking medical help. Be honest with your physician and not only about your use but also if you feel like you are being judged or receiving inadequate care. If it comes down to it, request to see a different Dr. While this reply is 2 months late, I’m sure there are more people in your position that hopefully find this helpful. Just because antibiotics didn’t help, doesn’t mean that you don’t have an infection and need urgent medical care. Oral antibiotics may not be strong enough to get the infection under control. I had severe cellulitis and almost lost my hand. Thankfully, I went to the ER and after 6 weeks of IV antibiotics, I am back to normal besides a huge scar where they drained it. Had I waited any longer, I would have most likely gone septic and things could have been A LOT worse. Time is of the essence in these situations so PLEASE, if you find yourself in a similar situation, brush your pride and nervousness aside and get help ASAP. IV drug users deserve to be treated like everyone else and nowadays are increasingly being so.

  20. Stuart lilley

     /  May 1, 2016

    Hi, I was a heroin/crack user for 20yrs, injected both into my wrist area and hands on a frequent basis. I’ve been clean for 7yrs now. Latley, I’ve been getting an excruciating sharp and tight pain around my wrist, thumb area, also losing grip and strength. Anyone got any ideas? Do I need to go c a doctor?

    • Cat

       /  July 16, 2016

      Yes you do need to see a doctor. I had similar and ended up having two operations. The blood had stopped flowing into the area that makes your thumb work. I had a pain followed by being unable to use my thumb. Since the ops it’s better but I still find opening jars a nightmare.

  21. derek

     /  May 1, 2016

    e been shooting dope for 15 years now the only veins i have r in my in my hands everytime I hit themI don’t miss but it will go up to my forearmturn bright red and burn

    • Mike

       /  July 27, 2016

      Sounds like you’re hitting an artery. Be careful. Things can go south REAL quick.

  22. Elizabeth

     /  April 2, 2016

    I keep swelling, my skin is so tight , and I’m afraid I messed up my hand for ever. What do I do besides going to the hospital?

  23. Elizabeth

     /  April 2, 2016

    I think I shot up in a tendon in my wrist ,cause my hand is swollen to the point of not being able to make a fist. My skin is stretched to the max.

    • Amber

       /  May 26, 2016

      Hi Elizabeth! Im sorry to hear about your hand!. I hope its doing better now im sure it is being that was almost 2 months ago though. But Im messaging you because that same thing just happened to my friend. She injected into her wrist and believes to have hit a tendon. Its swelling, painful and she can’t make a fist. She’s works with her hands and wondering if this is something that needs to be seen by a doctor for or will go away on its own. And if so anything you did to help/ relieve the pain? Thanks for any advice!

  24. Estrella

     /  March 15, 2016

    I injected suboxone into the top of ny index finger. My fingers are now going numb and turning purple. I have hit on the same area before. I know I shouldn’t and never will again. But what can I do?

    • Oh dear! Im sorry to get back late – I daresay you have probably already been to the doctor? The fact that your finger/s was numb is concerning – that means the blood isnt getting to it -If the purple bruising continues and darkens further you MUST get to the Dr asap or risk losing a finger! It sounds like you either hit an artery -remmeber you have one in every finger -have a look at where the arteries lie in fingers -basically they are up the inside and outside of each finger but you have tiny veins too, so if a teeny vein gets blocked by a sediment of a pill, it could cause the finger to start to loose blood supply -have a look here – Just keep a very close eye -expect the numbness to come back in a couple of days -if it doesnt you MUST go see the dr, especially if thats accompanied by darkening and bruising and you finger/s are cold to the touch – blood supply means warmth -cold clammy fingers mean danger and get to the dr! Good luck my friend. PS – Have you ever heard about WHEEL FILTERS???? They are for the PILL INJECTOR and you can buy them online for around 80pence each (UK) you’ll want the 2.2cm Wheel Filters wheel filters_ you tube demo and buy them here – they are the ONLY way bar not injecting pills that will help stop sediment entering the veins from injecting pills -they filter everything out, even bacteria! read this too -and buy them on ebay! Stop shooting pills but if you MUST do it – then you MUST have these filters! good luck friend, BPx

  25. dali28

     /  March 8, 2016

    thanks so much for the info.. and yes believe it may just be getting a nerve or artery. U guys r awesome. I love we can find info or just seeing other experiences without the criticism. Thnx and I soon hope I can quit shooting without DT’s. Pray 4 me!!! Thnx again

  26. dali28

     /  February 26, 2016

    Hello. I have a question. I see some people have asked but I believe they weren’t answered yet .. (I understand).. I hope u can reply. So I have been using IV drugs for about 4months now. I use subutex .. I recently noticed i’ll get a bight red blood and when I get it I assume a vein. However when I get it I notice (BTW IM DOING IT IN UPPER ARM) it sends a very warm burning almost tingling feeling especially running Towards my hand.. afterwards it seems my hand swells a little and gets (mostly the fingers) and almost a blah feel like tingling, I guess… it doesn’t do this in the same spot when I get dark blood just brighter blood. What does this mean? Thank you and I’ve always wanted the answer but seems people always say missing but it doesn’t hurt at all near the site.

    • Hi, It is difficult to know but it sounds like you possibly COULD be just nicking an artery when you inject there. Normally you get a huge amount of pain when hitting an artery, or a fright, or the blood will shoot back in the syringe very fast. But when you say you get a tingling that goes DOWN from where you inject to the hand, then the hand swells a little….Its really hard to say, is it possible you could be injecting anywhere near an artery deep nerve? Does it happen EVERY time you use there -when you are SURE you havent missed the hit? You could be getting the same or similar response from missing your hit. Thats possible to Id say (but we are not medics please remember that). But think if you are injecting where an artery could be. Is it deep in your arm? It is always better to stay shallow re veins. But it sounds like you might be just very very slightly, nicking or touching, an artery. Stop doing it there -move slightly -dont go so deep, stay shallow. Hope that helps! BPx

    • Dana

       /  February 29, 2016

      Dali28…. The bright blood and yukky tingly feeling shooting down ur arm/body means your hitting an artery.. I often accidentally do this in the upper arm. Most people would say to pull out and try to hit the vein again but I just make sure to push in extra slow and apply pressure to the injection site afterwards..I’ve been doing suboxon for almost 2 years.. U should look up about injecting in an artery vs a vein tho if u don’t know the difference bc it’s safer to hit a vein and the vein walls are thinner so it’s less painful.. And remember to rotate and always always be safe 😄

      • Hi Dana/Mike; I just wanted to make sure you meant that you actually werent injecting into an artery? If you ever, I mean EVER think you have hit an artery, or even nicked it -Take the needle out straight away and apply pressure. There is NO POINT trying to hit an artery -it takes blood AWAY from the heart to the limbs and the end of the limbs -like your hands and feet -and is then fed out into the capillaries and then oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients, and wastes are exchanged. This is basically why if you hit an artery and manage to inject even the TINIEST bit of substance into it -it has nowhere to go but get stuck at the hand or foot (depending what vein is used) and you have to pray to God that it manages to disperse into the surrounding tissues -which is hard considering the capillaries are only one blood cell wide! It just that I wasnt 100% clear on your reply, thinking you might have said that sometimes if you think you might have hit an artery, you dont pull out but just go really slow. To be fair, arterial injection is EXTREMELY painful so you would not be able to inject into it without hitting the roof either during it -or straight afterwards! Nightmare! Remember -stay away from ANYTHING WITH A PULSE! good luck and thanks for your reply.

  27. Katie

     /  January 27, 2016

    I believe my mom is using drugs. If she is shooting up in her hand is it a possibility that she would get a wound/assess on her knuckle? And what do they look like? Hers almost looks like a burn, it’s red and discolored. Is there a difference between a meth wound and a heroine wound? Thank you

  28. Chelse

     /  January 23, 2016

    Hello, my hand is swollen, red, and hot after I injected with the yellow insulin syringe to my hand it’s causing the symptoms of an infection. Is this possible?
    Thanks so much. Please reply. I’m scared to death!!

  29. Meg

     /  December 21, 2015

    Hi. I’ve just experienced three days of drug use. it’s been 6 years since I had a hug binge like that. It really helped to read your page and know that I’m not alone. I had some the first day and due to my anxiety I just lock myself away hoping no one comes over. Last night I picked all night. They will heal amd I will have more scars to feel ashamed of every day I wake up and I’ll find my way of working past that point everyday.
    My concern is that I I have never followed the stringent sterile use of needles. As in I don’t prep my skin. I’ll be picking and not carefully wash before sshooting again. I’ll make 20 attempts with the same needle and i re use my own needles. I have this horrible feeling that means I will die from a blood disease. if I have caused bacteria in my blood stream how will I know and what happens from it.

  30. Tera

     /  December 14, 2015

    I injected suboxen in the back of my hand yesterday and immediately afterwards a little knot formed. I expected this because I felt like what I thought was a miss at the very end of pushing the meds thru. However, a few hours later the little knit had turned into a swelled and puffy hand. The entire back of my hand is swollen up to the knuckles but none of my fingers are swollen. The swelling has went down a little and it doesn’t hurt but I can feel the circulation is off in my hand. I’m not sure what’s going on or how to handle this. I have some antibiotics. Do you think that would help? Can you give me some tips on how to bring the swelling down?

    • Hi Tera, We have just massively updated our page on abscesses -and it talks about both sterile and infected abscesses -yours could be sterile, which basically means your body has isolated it and is slowly dealing with the foreign tissue / bacteria by encircling it and sealing it up, then sending white blood cells and other stuff to break down the stuff inside ‘the zone’. So in your case that is a missed hit of liquid and sediment from the tablet the irritation surrounding the area is from your body trying to break the stuff at the site down, and its become an irritation causing infklamation. This could mean it might become an abscess. Its important to keep a very close eye on things now -and look at the abscess page. Also try using the hot and cold compress idea -on the abscess page – for reducing swelling. Remember we are not doctors -any sign of redness, heat and pain mean you have an abscess and should go to the doctors as hands are one of the worst places to get an abscess. (Tablets are bad idea Tera -but see if you can buy WHEEL FILTERS online; esp sold in Australia, pharma medical supply stores -they are literally PILL FILTERS – they filter out sediment and bacteria and are a MUST HAVE for any pill injector. See for info on them. Good luck.

  31. Danielle

     /  December 9, 2015

    Hey guys I have an issue here and searched all over online and still can’t find some good answers. I’ve been using the vein on the crook do my arm… Towards the outside… On each arm. So I’ve only been rotating between these two and they are both hard and I can’t hit them anymore. I tried hitting my hand and a big lump appeared which I assume will go away soon like it did once before. My veins are really small and I can’t see any vein besides the ones on the back of my hands and the one on the crook of my arm towards the outside. Does anyone have any opinions on where I can hit? I’m trying to ween myself off as I just got a new job and tried cold turkey and almost quit my job halfway through the day because the withdrawals were so bad. I just need a couple safe options and maybe some good direction on where to find a safe vein. I tried to do on the crook of my arms towards the inside but left huge massive bruises without registering. I just don’t know what to do and find myself freaking out with blood everywhere everytime I try to hit. Any advice would be helpful. I’m fairy small and my boyfriend has bulging veins everywhere and can rotate between 6 veins while I sit here with two dead veins and no options or direction. Please help. If anyone could even email me and help me through this… I would appreciate it.

    • Hi Danielle, I will answer your question over the day or so -but we have massively updated this hand injecting page, so give it another look -there are some good images of veins here and there is good text on really preparing, finding and injecting your drugs, in the best possible way -there should be some new things to learn in there -it is very comprehensive and heavily researched to ensure we are saying any rubbish! I understand your grief and distress, it is truly upsetting -I will reply to you shortly. Speak soon, BPx

    • Hi Danielle, well there are some things you can do that will help and having a good slow read through this article will help you as well, as I am sure there will be something in this piece that will help you improve your injecting. Females do indeed have a harder time than guys (not fair!) and we can get quite distressed because it ‘appears’ we have no veins. But there are several things you could do to help things along: You need to get used to 1) being hydrated beforehand -plenty of water (being asleep for hours on end can also leave you dehydrated when you wake up and try to have a hit. Keep your water up and leave a bottle by your bed and in your car etc. 2) warm up all your veins; do this by literally having a warm shower, warm, relaxing bath -really chill out in there in lovely hot water (not too hot obviously or it makes the veins disappear) and after 5 mins just out, wrap up in a towel and have your fix. An extension of this is exercise: (if you really cant get a hit) exercising before a fix can be surprisingly helpful (athletes don’t have spaghetti veins for nothing! If you got a litre of milk in each hand, or a 3-5 kilo book in each hand -something that provides some weight without being stupid, and do lifts: 15 then rest for 1 mins, 15 then rest for 1 min, etc. Then – no 3 comes into play -ie -a warm to hot flannel over the arms or hands or wherever you are going to keep all your main potential sites warm and ready until while you look for that place to inject. 4) Lastly -but almost most importantly -the tourniquet. Read the info above about tourniquets (also in Bad habits Vs Good habits) and stick to it religiously. Sooo many peeps pull the tourniquet too tight -literally as their hand looses colour, gets sore etc -some even inject while the tourni is still pulled tight! It MUST only be a squeeze -a colleague describes it as the force you would use on a child if you had to pull it across the road quickly. A firm squeeze -using material that is an inch wide (so it doesnt dig in and cut off supply to the artery) -like a mans tie. An American user group advocates the inner tube of a small pushbike -its really soft, washable, easy to fold, pull, release quickly etc. I like this idea personally. Let me know how it goes if you decide to use one?! Lastly -a brand new sharp, sterile syringe is a MUST, for hard to find veins. Re sites -if you still cant find any after all this, look round the back of your arm. It is harder to reach but we are all creative so you may find a good spot thats comfortable or your boyfriend can help you. Remember though -always aim the syringe towards the heart -never towards the hand. There are also some veins you can use around your knee and thigh area -again, operate as you would your hand, and always go slowly -that is crucial -your blood is trying to be pushed back up the leg towards the heart all by itself, so gently does it -and always towards the heart -NOT down towards the foot. Legs and feet can be used -they are delicate however so you must ROTATE and ROTATE. Have a form where you start at 12.00 and move around your sites clockwise -that way you know how often you are using your sites and one site doesn’t get overused. Ok, nuff said, I am just about to upload part 1 of several parts about the circulatory system -images of our veins and arteries and nerves in each part of our body, in detailed drawings, photos, slides, videos etc. To help us all understand better what goes on in the train-tracks we use to shoot drugs into! OK, write back if you get stuck or have other queries and I know other readers will help you out as well. Good luck Danielle, please be careful, gentle and good to yourself. And please both read our overdose section so you are prepared in an emergency (practice with your partner or see if your local needle exchange has workshops) and while you are there ask them about Naloxone -the injection being given to users across the world now to use in an opiate overdose situation: just like the paramedics have used all these years -now we get to have it at home -so ask, ask, and if you get a no -ask why not?! Ciao Danielle! BP x

      • Danielle88

         /  May 24, 2016

        When I was reading.your post above I noticed you said how after you register you shouldn’t inject until you undo the tourniqut… now obviously being an iv user for over 10years I have heard this before.. but because my veins are so so bad I can’t register unless the tourniqut is tied extremely tight and I can’t untie it until after I hit..(I have untied it before and lost the spot) any suggestions for someone who has lost pretty much every vein in their arms, hands, thighs? And I know it’s pretty bad not to untie the tourniqut but I’m not sure what to do at this point..

      • Eric

         /  August 2, 2016

        My friend just injected heroine in the top of his wrist hand and missed suddenly his hand started burning sensation while stinging he said and fluid moving across his whole hand then hand thumb and index finger going numb and swelling what does he do it’s been a couple hours and nothing has changed should He see a doctor like I told him too or use that naloxine he has I told him to put it under warm water and salt and coconut oil but he keep freaking out should he go to the ER

      • Hi -thanks for your email – to be honest it sounds a bit like he might have nicked an artery. There is a big artery that goes up the thumb side of the wrist – can you feel the pulse there? Was that where he had the hit? Usually an artery hit will feel like an electric shock followed by burning heat spreading across the area, followed by throbbing and swelling and numbness – sounds like your buddy doesnt it? If thats the case there isnt much he can do at this stage. Here is some useful text I found:

        It is likely that a bruise will appear after you have nicked / hit an artery. The bruise may look dramatic and some people can find this worrying, especially if it appears away from the injection area. Bruises will disappear with time but this may take several weeks. It is normal for bruises to spread out before fading. If you do experience a bruise the following advice may help during the first 36 hours after the bruise appeared.

        Treat your bruise like this:

        Rest – allow time for the bruise to heal. Protect the bruise by avoiding heavy lifting, e.g. at the gym or carrying heavy shopping, and only light, gentle movement is recommended. After 36 hours return to normal activity.

        Ice – do not place directly on the skin but under a cloth.

        Compression – pressing on the point where the needle was inserted when a bruise has appeared may reduce the size of the bruise which is forming.

        Elevation – if possible, raise your arm above the level of your heart when at rest.

        If you require pain relief take paracetamol (according to manufacturer’s instructions) but avoid aspirin and ibuprofen for the first 24 hours.

        After 36 hours contrast bathing may help reduce any swelling. This requires putting a cold cloth on the affected area for 10 minutes followed by a warm cloth for 10 minutes and repeating this several times, ending with a cold cloth.

        Follow this advice and you should be ok – but stay away from the wrist area – its dodgy -or avoid the thumb side of the wrist at least. NEVER use a big needle here or go deep as you could damage a nerve which can fuck up your hand function!!! Look at the 3d vein and artery images to check where approx they lie and avoid the area! Hitting arterys is extremely painful and can be very dangerous. Good luck friends, BPx

  32. Will the nerve on the wrist heal it feels like a zap to my thumb abd worries me? Lease lmk what u think swim is using methadone.

  33. Kerri

     /  November 25, 2015

    URGENT!! I did a fairly large shot of coke on side of my hand near the wrist, yes it was a miss and it was numb and all those things, but it’s like 7 hrs later and I can barely turn my wrist, I’m used to stuff like this happening but not for this long, my fingers still bend and it’s not even too swollen I just can’t turn it? What’s that about? Is it going to fall off? Of get that weird blood disease shooters get from shooting? I don’t have insurance so unless u say er I feel stupid for going, and here’s the kicker I am a hair designer, thanks for listening and pleeeeeeeeeease help

    • Apply pressure is it a nerve?

    • Dammit -I just answered this in a large comment but accidentally deleted it! Grr! But -please remember -we are NOT medically trained -just long term students of harm reduction and health issues as they affect people who use drugs… -Ok, so that aside, it sounds like you have inflammation and irritation that comes from a missed hit -especially when its in an area where there is not much fat or skin to absorb the liquid. So it is going to swell, feel inflamed because its a foreign substance under there, and hurt. It will probably go down -in fact if everything goes normally, it will go down. But as ever with your hands, it is Don’t faff about -as a hair designer your hands are your life -so don’t take any risks. I hope it all goes well. PS -make sure you look at where the arteries in the hand lie because there is a main artery in the wrist and a huge nerve -damaging either could be disastrous. -The wrist is a dangerous place so check out a few charts on vein and artery positions and be really careful -never use anything other than a one ml syringe for hands. Take good care! BP

    • Hi again Kerri -I forgot to add -make sure to have a look at our newly updated abscess page -and, may as well come back to our massively updated hand injecting section too! Just finished it this evening!

  34. Sam

     /  November 14, 2015

    Yesterday i have had a deep cut on my arm, below my wrist. The cut seems small but maybe deep, im worried if it have damaged my nerves as i could lose sense in my fingers. Doctor checked pulse of each of my finger it showed 98. My fingers are functioning normally right now . is there any chance i could develop major nerve injury later?

    • dude, im no doctor -please dont ask me a question like that -i can only give harm reduction advice, okay? good luck, best thing is you went to the dr, sounds like you avoided any long term problems. But ask the doc ok?

  35. Mosetsanagape

     /  November 11, 2015

    I was being at the clinic and taken the blood test at my left hand side vein.after few minutes it was paining and day blue and reddish now it is painful again.What I want to know is that,can be any chances that it is broken or hurt?

  36. Amandaee

     /  November 8, 2015

    How do I ask a new question ,I did a shot in my thumb on the inside *palm side like right above the top knuckle on th side closer to my ring finger now it’s numb and blotchy kind of usually itz fine. In the the rest of my fingers but my thumb is swelling up, I’ve hit a artery before and it made my hand really hot right away and swell and had re d spots all over my hand and it was super painful but this is different so is don’t know what happend

  37. Thank you for the response. The swelling went down and the bruising is subsiding. I’ll keep a eye on it. Thanks again!

  38. JuliaURGENT

     /  November 4, 2015


    I shot into my hand last night around 10:30pm and everything went normally until I finished the shot when it felt like my hand was on fire. My hand almost immediately swell up to twice its normal size. I ran it under hot water and spent the next 2 hours massaging it under hot water or with it wrapped in a heating pad. I have been alternating between heat and cold packs on the hand. It is now 1pm the following day. My fingers are back to normal size and the swelling overall has gone down but the main part of my hand is still considerably swollen, sore, and slightly warmer than usual. I believe that I hit an artery however there wasn’t a lot of bleeding, actually, there was less blood than normal. How should I proceed? Should I go to the urgent care and request antibiotics? I have prednisone, should I start taking that to bring down the inflammation? PLEASE reply ASAP

    • Hi Julia,
      Well done you! Yes it all sounds textbook for an artery hit -and a text book recovery so well done! Your right though, there should have been more bleeding than with a vein after you took the needle out, but are you a long time injector? It may be possible that your blood is a little thicker or more viscous -I’m no doctor remember but I would have thought that you would have seen a bit of extra blood leaking out after you withdrew the needle. However -all the signs you have reported sound like classic artery hit -but it seems like it is going down -and it WILL be painful for a few days for sure -you just want to make sure the pain is not increasing in any way and there isn’t any heat remaining. This should be slowly subsiding if all’s going well. This can also depend on what you injected. Re the Prednisone -again, we are not doctors here -but I did look around the web for you about this cortico-steroid -while it is used as an anti-inflammatory -when one compares its use for swelling with using Ibuprofen (iso-butyl-propanoic-phenolic acid) which is a is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) -it appears that Ibuprofen would be the recommended choice; its safer in the scheme of things and I couldn’t find anything to suggest that Prednisolone would be a better choice. Nice work though -I liked your hot and cold compress idea -as this is a bit of a confusion area -but the hot and cold compress is a recommended way to deal with the early stages of abscess -when one is trying to get the skin to do all the work and reabsorb body liquids into the tissue and prevent swelling. I would be interested why you thought the hot and cold compress was best suited, as, before I would have said warm compress, but then sometimes cold, like a bag of frozen peas, has been said to be useful for swelling as well -perhaps though, not for the ‘injected liquid’ kind of issue? Interested to know your thoughtful views Julia, thanks again! and best of luck of course! BP x

  39. Hi ERGENT!! ERGENT!! I shot into my right arm I went threw the artery. My biceps started to fill with blood and brusing. Is bad. I’m not sure if it stop. I think it has and the bruising has subsided. But I’m new to this. Please help. I can’t go to dr for abvious reason..

    • Hi Xavier – Well, by what you have said -the large amount of bruising of your bicep -it sounds like you might have just touched on an artery or – just nicked it. If you injected anything in the artery -it would have been very PAINFUL -like an electric shot or red hot poker!! As soon as you begin to push the needle in you will feel extreme pain -did that happen? If yes -then you will experience swelling (but this should be in your hand though as artery’s take blood AWAY from the heart -not like a vein which takes it TO the heart). If this is the case all you can do is wait for the swelling to go away but pay VERY close attention to the area – any heat on area, or pain that gets worse, or deep blackness that starts creeping outwards or on any fingers, or any areas where you cannot feel your skin or fingers etc – THEN you MUST get help as things are turning serious -gangrene can result form a bad artery hit watch closely over the next 24 -48 hours -that will tell you what is happening. IF -it is only your bicep that is bruised -then it may be just a case of a missed hit -in which case you should just keep an eye on it, and wait for the sswelling to go down. BUT – make sure you read our update on abscesses -you can have a sterile abscess from injecting an insoluble substance -or an infected on -you will need to watch the whole are /injecting site to what it does over the next few days. Remember though – anything like extreme pain or you feeling physically sick or feverish, or any loss of feeling -get straight down to the doctors -OR -go and see a nice pharmacist/chemist -they can be very helpful at times like this and should be able to tell you straight away whether you need a doctor. Go to one out of the area if you are worried about being identified! Good luck Xavier! BP x

  40. Candy

     /  November 2, 2015

    I have a few questions, when injection herion into me and after there’s white blotches all over wat does tat mean?? I was TD it means tat its very good dope is tat true??

    • It sounds like it was from either your tourniquet being left on too long, or an irritation from something in the heroin -white blotches is NOT, I repeat NOT indicative of good heroin! More like the opposite Im afraid – don’t buy it from the same dude again, is the best advice.

  41. Matthew

     /  November 1, 2015

    My hands have swolen to hell after injection in my hand

  42. I injected black tar heroin into my left hand and it’s now very swollen and red and skin is cracking there is no sign of abcess bubble or puss that I can see but it’s painful when I try and close it. It’s been three days and the swelling hasn’t gone down but hasn’t gotten any bigger either. I also notice my knuckles are swollen as well. What could this be ? Please help URGENT

    • Hiya, please have a look at our major update on abscesses -hands are very dangerous places for any kind of lumps and swellings -and peeling skin or cracking skin sounds like you did some damage in there -please read our update and decide from there – I would say if there is any pain or heat – get to a doctor straight away -you cant fuck about with bad injections in the hand area. Good luck my friend, BP-

  43. Venus

     /  October 28, 2015

    I’ve shot in my hands for awhile there are times the stuff is to thike and it will swell skittle and go down but this time it is acting more like a miss were is swells up and hurts alittle Know it’s clean and no infection so what can I do to help the swelling and keep it from getting worse or infected.thanks bettyboopdooloop

    • Hi -I know this is a little late but thought you might be interested in our updated abscess section which gives loads of new info on dealing with lumps under the skin!

  44. kevin

     /  September 20, 2015

    I am now going to snort anything I decide to do!!! fuck shooting up.. just be reading everyone post…. almost everyone in this chat forum.. we all suck!!! none of us can hit …. we all used to be able to find a good vein 3 years ago.. but now.. were all at that point in our addiction were our veins are destroyed.. and I prey for everyone to stop n get help

  45. kevin

     /  September 20, 2015

    hi guyS! 5 days ago I shot some h up into my wrist.. and of course I missed… I hit a artery.. my whole hand was swollen for 3 days… now all of the swelling is finnaly gone.. but the spot were I missed the shot… is still a red fire hot lump.. and it hurts I can barely use my hand..,. see im confused.. while even though the swelling on my hand has went down.. on my wrist were I missed.. is hurting.. I shot a lot into my artery… I was really high and I got mad shot my first shot.. missed.. then shot a whole second shot and missed. im not sure if both shots went into the artery but at least 1 did.. anyways. im scared to tell anyone but I don’t wanna loose my hand.. I suppose I will go to hospital in next few days if the paid don’t let up.. I used ice first 3 days and ib profen 800 for the swelling.. anyways guys.. I have given up injecting since this day.. I finally had something happen to me traumatic anuff to get me to stop!!!! damn I just hope it not too late and my hand will be ok!>.

  46. Stefani

     /  September 1, 2015

    I just did a shot of meth on my left wrist and I’m pretty sure I hit an artery. It didn’t hurt or burn its not swollen or red either but the miss on my forearm from a couple days ago is what has me worried. I didn’t feel the hit as much as it should have but I’m wondering if its because I hit an artery or the miss on my arm blocked it from circulating and thats why its red and swollen??? Are misses affected depending on what vein you choose or do they swell up after hitting anywhere below them?? If I would’ve hit above it would it prevents my old miss from swelling??

  47. Alec

     /  June 22, 2015

    I was trying to pry a sticky tape on a steel container using chef knife. Suddenly, the knife slip very fast and my palm near with middle fingers was plunged by knife that i’m using. I can see my blood bubbling and a thin white veins. The thin white veins are broken and it is very painful when I try to move my middle finger.. Did I just damage an important veins or it is just a painful sensation?? I didn’t go to clinic yet..

  48. Deanna Lynch

     /  May 7, 2015

    my hands have swollen for two years now, doctors don’t know what it is… I did it by shooting up. Is their any thing I can do to get the swelling down, please help its so shameful to me. I have not shoot up in my hands for way over a year. thank you

    • Mine is going on 7 months. I think we permanently disfigured. Apparently damaging the veins causes it and there’s no way to reverse the damage.

  49. Lisa

     /  May 2, 2015

    for the first time tonight I used meth… I gave myself an injection in my wrist. I didn’t get high, but my two middle fingers are numb and I can’t feel them. My husband is freaking out. Should I be worried?

  50. mike

     /  April 27, 2015

    Help please I did a shot above my wrist and keep pulling plunger back and registered whole time right after between my thumb and index finger on left hand started burning and swelled up today is the second day since and has gotten much more swollen and hurts so bad. Can bairly move my thumb pain is 50/10 ugh what do I do I’ve tried to ice it an helps s little not much

  51. Alex

     /  April 5, 2015

    Hi i was using meth and I missed my vein on the top of my hand and i now have a big lump there and it’s very red should I be worried?

  52. Abigail

     /  April 4, 2015

    Yesterday I tried to shoot up for the very first time. I tried it in my left wrist where you can see the two veins a little clearly. I injected very little but I stopped and pulled out when I could tell it started to form what looked like under my skin. It’s been sore and today it is a little red. It is also a bit puffy. What do I do? I’m kind of freaking out. I’m never trying it again

  53. 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

  54. *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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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

  57. 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.

  58. **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.

    • vinnystax

       /  September 30, 2015

      It sounds as if you may have blown out your vein. By not releasing the tie after registering (and before pushing/injecting the shot into your vein), you put massive loads of pressure onto your vein(s) which can result in what you had experienced that night. What you need to do is as follows: Proceed as you normally do through the shooting routine until you are able to successfully register blood. At this point, you need to first remove the tie or whatever you are using as a tourniquet, then go forward with the actual injection process. A few tips I would suggest are as follows: First, when I register with a tie on, I generally will go ahead and push the needle a little deeper in (possibly even just slightly out of the actual vein, or “through” it), because of the fact that I know the vein will be most likely receding backwards just a tad once I release the pressure of the tie. Once you’ve released the tie, always be sure to re-register and make sure you are still properly inside the vein. If you use my method of pushing it a little extra in the forward direction and find that you are no longer registering once you remove the tie, just simply pull the needle backward toward where it was when you originally registered, taking care to move very slowly and pay incredibly close attention to when/if you are able to re-register successfully. It is very rare that you are unsuccessful in those types of scenarios. Once you’ve got the tie off and have re-registered, proceed with the shot as normal and enjoy happy and healthy veins that will last you about 100x longer while also never making you worry about having to deal with what you went through the night you made your post. I have been indulging for around 5 years and have never blown out a single vein, and I like to think its because I am a stickler for harm reduction techniques. Best of luck!

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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?

  62. 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

  63. 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.

    • Amanda

       /  June 23, 2015

      Im pretty sure its probally roxy 30s n yes they r probally shoorubg them. Its a pain pill generic form is oxycodone like Percocet but no tylenol and thry are blue and very small in size….

    • kevin

       /  September 20, 2015

      stop snooping.. if u dig 4 dirt u will find it!!! the blue is perk 30… btw

  64. 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 !`

  65. 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

  66. 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

  67. 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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  68. 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

  69. 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?

  70. 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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