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Shooting (Injecting) Ativan: Can It Be Done Safely?

No, there is no safe way to shoot Ativan. Injecting the drug comes with a host of potential dangers.

Ativan Use

Everyone feels anxiety from time to time, but some people truly have anxiety disorders and need all the assistance they can get. This often includes prescription medication use.

Lorazepam, better known as its brand name Ativan, is a prescription drug that helps people who are dealing with anxiety. It works by boosting feelings of relaxation.

MedlinePlus says it is sometimes prescribed to people to deal with side effects from cancer treatments including nausea and vomiting. It is also used for other health issues such as:

  • Epilepsy
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Can Ativan Be Abused?

Ativan is known to be habit-forming, and people should only take it as directed by their doctor. Despite these warnings, a 2016 study published on Mental Health Clinician states that benzodiazepines are often misused. The study says that people are likely to misuse benzodiazepines while also taking other substances. As a whole, benzodiazepines are known to affect the brain negatively if abused.

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Ativan is often prescribed to stop seizures and treat alcohol dependency. Because of its legitimate medical uses, some people may think they can safely inject Ativan at home.

There is a big difference between injecting a drug yourself and having a physician do it for you. Some people may decide to buy Ativan without a prescription, but street versions can be counterfeits or mixed with dangerous, unknown substances.  

Injecting any drug, including Ativan, comes with a host of additional consequences.

Dangers of Injecting Ativan

A 2015 article published by the Australian Prescriber states that using a benzodiazepine for three to four weeks increases the chances that the user will experience unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal if they quit using it suddenly.

A person may become dependent on a benzodiazepine—even if it is prescribed—and start engaging in behaviors that signify misuse such as injecting the drug. Ativan is often prescribed as a tablet or liquid, so it is only meant to be taken orally.

Crushing Ativan tablets to combine the powder with liquid or injecting the liquid form of it into the veins is dangerous even in medically supervised environments. In 2014, Pharmacy Times published an article on nurses who have accidentally injected an oral version of the drug into patients.

The article said that, in some cases, nurses did not know enough about the risks of injecting a patient with an oral version of a drug intravenously. Other times, nurses were simply trying to help, and they improvised in the best way they could.

Pharmacy Times states that injecting an oral drug into a person’s veins could cause various health issues. Oral versions of any medication often have added ingredients for digestion that are not meant to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream.

Other dangers of injecting Ativan include:

  • Increased desire for Ativan. A 2015 article published by The Conversation reports that injecting a drug has been found to make a person desire a substance even more. Intravenous drug use generally leads to addiction more quickly than other forms of taking the drug.
  • Risk of HIV and hepatitis infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that people who inject illicit substances put themselves at risk of becoming infected with HIV or hepatitis A, B, or C if they share needles with other people
  • Injury to injection sites. Most individuals who inject drugs are not trained on the best ways to use a syringe.
    • Neck injuries: A 2015 study published on Drug and Alcohol Review states that people who inject substances into their neck often suffer from obstructions to their airways, paralysis to their vocal cords, trauma to the jugular vein, blood clots, and bacterial infections.
  • Endocarditis: An April 2018 article published by The New York Times states that endocarditis is a serious infection in the valves of the heart. A person who injects a drug may transfer bacteria into their bloodstream that reaches their heart. Care for this infection involves open heart surgery.  Doctors are still deciding on the best way to move forward whenever a patient is admitted with endocarditis that is the result of drug use. NYT interviewed Dr. Kevin Pollard, who said some patients keep on abusing drugs even as they are on their way to surgery. Even though it is a doctor’s job to save the patient, some doctors warn patients that they will only operate once, and they may not do so a second time, which could ultimately cost the person their life.
  • Overdose: Overdose is a possibility with any abuse, and the risk is heightened when the drug is injected. 

Injecting Ativan is a sign of a clear substance abuse problem. This could lead a person to buy Ativan without a prescription, online, or on the street. Not only is this illegal, but it could also be incredibly hazardous.

Effects on the Brain

Psychology Today states that doctors have been worried about the risks of benzodiazepines like Ativan since at least the 1960s. Some studied effects of Ativan on the brain are:

  • Dependency – Doctors used to believe that only people who have a history of substance abuse could become dependant on benzodiazepines. It is now known that anyone can misuse benzos, and dependency forms very quickly.
  • Changes to the brain’s anatomy – As early as 1989, brain scans revealed changes to the physical structure of the brains of people who abuse benzodiazepines. 
  • Withdrawal – Since 1990, the American Psychiatric Association has recognized that benzos cause withdrawal. 

The Dangers of Counterfeit Ativan

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a warning on counterfeit drugs in August 2016. S

  • It could contain no Ativan.
  • It could contain fentanyl, which is an opioid that is much stronger than morphine and can quickly lead to fatal overdose.
  • It could contain substances that are banned and very dangerous.

Misuse Statistics

The Mental Health Clinician mentions several trends that can help us understand how people misuse benzodiazepines like Ativan:

Misuse Statistics

 

  • In 2010, there were 408,021 visits to emergency rooms linked to benzodiazepines.
  • Between 2004 and 2011, benzodiazepines played a role in overdose deaths. They went from being found in 18 percent of toxicity screens to 31 percent.
  • Opioids and benzodiazepines are two commonly found prescription medications that are often responsible for overdose deaths.
  • Between 2000 and 2010, treatment programs for benzodiazepine misuse became increasingly popular. Admissions to such programs went up 570 percent.

 

Many people

Conclusion

There is no safe way to inject Ativan. If you have been shooting Ativan, it’s a clear indication that you need help.

Sources

(April 2017) Can you inject Ativan? Quora. from https://www.quora.com/Can-you-inject-Ativan

(September 2014) Avoiding Inadvertent Intravenous Injection of Oral Liquids. Pharmacy Times. from https://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2014/sept2014/avoiding-inadvertent-intravenous-injection-of–oral-liquids

(May 2016) Benzodiazepine use, misuse, and abuse: A review. Mental Health Clinician. from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6007645/

(October 2015) Management of benzodiazepine misuse and dependence. Australian Prescriber. from https://www.nps.org.au/australian-prescriber/articles/management-of-benzodiazepine-misuse-and-dependence-5

(April 2015) Prevalence and correlates of neck injection among people who inject drugs in Tijuana, Mexico. Drug and Alcohol Review. from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4869533/

(November 2018) Injection Drug Use and HIV Risk. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. from https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/idu.html

(May 2017) Lorazepam. Medline Plus. from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682053.html

(April 2018) Injecting Drugs Can Ruin a Heart. How Many Second Chances Should a User Get? New York Times. from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/29/health/drugs-opioids-addiction-heart-endocarditis.html

(September 2015) Snorted, injected or smoked? It can affect a drug’s addictiveness. The Conversation. from https://theconversation.com/snorted-injected-or-smoked-it-can-affect-a-drugs-addictiveness-45281

(March 2018) Xanax drug sold on social media found to be fake. BBC News. from https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-43543519

(August 2016) Counterfeit Medicine. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. from https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/CounterfeitMedicine/

(November 2010) Brain Damage from Benzodiazepines: The Troubling Facts, Risks, and History of Minor Tranquilizers. Psychology Today. from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/side-effects/201011/brain-damage-benzodiazepines-the-troubling-facts-risks-and-history-minor

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