Mapping the Body: Choosing a Vein for Safer Injection
Some places on the body are safer to inject into than others. Choose these areas when you inject. Try to rotate injection sites and the veins you use. Doing these things will help you prevent harms such as infection, vein damage, blood clots or bleeding that won’t stop.
IF YOU’RE INJECTING DRUGS INTO A VEIN:
- These areas are safer:
- Arms: Your arms, between your shoulder and wrist, are the safest places to inject.
- Back of hand: The veins in this area are fragile. Inject slowly and give these veins extra time to heal.
- Try to avoid these areas:
- Legs: Inject yourself on the lower part of your leg before injecting on the higher part of your leg. You could get blood clots. These clots can go into your lungs or heart and cause serious problems.
- Feet: The veins in your feet are very fragile. Give these veins extra time to heal. If you have foot problems, do not inject yourself here.
- Breasts: Try not to inject in your breasts. Injecting into your breasts can also cause blood clots.
- These areas are dangerous:
- Neck: The veins in your neck are very close to large arteries. If you do inject here, do not inject deep. You could hit an artery by accident.
- Face: Injecting into the face can cause serious health problems.
- Wrist: Your wrists are full of veins, arteries and nerves that are very close together. Injecting into an artery or nerve is painful and can cause serious health problems.
- Groin: The veins in the groin are very close to large arteries. If you do inject here and get a big bruise, get medical help right away.
- Genitals: The veins in your genitals are fragile and difficult to see. They are easily damaged and there is a high chance of infection.
Injecting into an artery is dangerous and will really hurt. Arteries have a pulse (heartbeat) that you can feel.
IF BLEEDING DOESN’T STOP IN FIVE MINUTES, GO TO THE HOSPITAL RIGHT AWAY.
Check out the poster Mapping the Body: Choosing a Vein for Safer Injection
CATIE thanks all the community and medical reviewers who contributed their expertise to this resource.
Production of this publication has been made possible in part through a financial contribution from the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of our funders.