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Can You Inject or Shoot Meth?

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Meth, or methamphetamine, is an addictive and illicit drug. Meth is illegal for recreational purposes making it a Schedule II substance. (1) However, there is a chemically different version of meth, known as methamphetamine chloride, which is used to help treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

and obesity. Methamphetamine is classified as a stimulant substance, meaning that it speeds up the central nervous system. (2) Meth can be ingested in various ways. Meth can be taken as a powder, pill, and it can be snorted through the nose. (3) With different ingestion methods, some individuals may wonder can you inject meth? Meth can be injected directly into the veins. Regardless of the method of use, meth can lead to addiction and unwanted side effects.

In 2021, approximately 2.5 million individuals, over the age of 11, reportedly engaged in meth use. (4) The same year, 1.6 million individuals were diagnosed with methamphetamine use disorder. (5) Meth use has been linked to cardiac related problems, leading to early mortality. (6) Here at Guardian Recovery, we provide evidence-based and comprehensive treatment plans to help those experiencing substance use disorders and dependency. With methamphetamine and other stimulant specific detoxification services, we can help you or a loved one successfully cease substance use in a safe environment. Contact us today to get started on your sobriety journey.

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Why Do People Inject Meth?

Injecting meth causes the substance to reach the bloodstream and brain rapidly. When an individual injects meth, it is often dissolved in water or alcohol first. (7) Injecting meth is also referred to as shooting meth. (8) Injecting meth causes an individual to experience a rush that is described as intense. An individual may also choose to inject meth because this form of ingestion can intensify the substance’s effects. (9)

What Are the Dangers & Health Risks of Injecting Meth?

Engaging in meth use can lead to dangerous side effects. Specifically, injecting meth can lead to its own set of health risks.

Dangers and health risks associated with injecting meth include:

  • Abscesses and skin infections
  • Collapsed veins (10)
  • Blood borne diseases
  • Overdose and addiction
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Endocarditis

Abscesses & Skin Infections

Injecting meth can lead to abscesses and other skin infections. This is due to needles and other paraphernalia not being sanitized properly before use. (11) Additionally, some individuals may engage in unsafe injection techniques. (12) Contaminants found in meth can also cause the development of skin infections and abscesses.

Chances of Blood Borne Diseases

Injecting meth has been linked to the development of contracting various blood borne illnesses. These diseases include HIV or Hepatitis B and C. Research has found that injecting meth can worsen the progression of HIV and AIDS once it has been contracted. (13)

Higher Chances of Overdose & Addiction

Reaching the brain and bloodstream quicker than other ingestion methods, injecting meth can increase one’s chances of experiencing an overdose or developing an addiction. (14)

Liver & Kidney Disease

Chronic meth injections can lead to liver and kidney disease. (15) Overtime, kidney failure can occur in which the kidneys are unable to function properly and remove the wastes from the body. Liver damage can also occur due to meth injections, though the exact cause is unknown and more research is needed in order to better understand this health effect. (16)


Endocarditis is a condition where the inner lining of the heart becomes inflamed. (17) This is caused by continuous intravenous drug injections. Bacteria found in unsanitized and unsterilized needles can also lead to the development of endocarditis. Without treatment, endocarditis can be fatal.

Physical, Mental, & Psychological Effects of Injecting Meth

Injecting meth can lead to different physical, mental, and psychological effects. Once ingested, meth floods the brain with dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in rewarding behaviors. (18) Over time, this causes the brain to solely rely on meth in order to produce dopamine. This makes an individual want to continue and repeat their meth use. Meth use can also lead to the development of tolerance, or the need to ingest more meth, than previously before, in order to reach the desired high.

Additional physical, mental, and psychological effects of injecting meth include: (19)

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Meth mouth
  • Severe itchiness
  • Confusion
  • Memory impairments
  • Difficulties falling and staying asleep
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Changes in brain structure and function

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Symptoms & Side Effects of Injecting or Shooting Meth

Injecting meth can cause adverse effects that overtime can become serious problems.

Shooting meth can lead to negative side effects such as: (20)

  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • High blood pressure


Paranoia, or an extreme distrust of others, can occur when one injects meth. Meth increases brain activity which can lead to paranoid thoughts that are difficult to shake. Paranoia can also be a symptom of meth withdrawal.


Anxiety is the feeling of persistent fear and worry. Injecting meth can lead to feelings of anxiousness. Anxiety can lead to an increased heart rate, fast breathing, and fatigue.


Injecting meth intravenously can result in an individual becoming irritable. Irritability can manifest itself into aggressive and violent behavior towards others or oneself. A study found that 59 percent of their participants reported engaging in violent criminal behavior following meth use. (21)


Injecting meth can lead to symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations. This happens due to the imbalance of dopamine that meth use produces. Hallucinations can cause individuals to see, hear, or feel things that are not really there.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can occur when an individual injects meth. High blood pressure forces the heart to have to work harder. Research has found that compared to those who smoke meth, injecting meth led to individuals experiencing a higher change in blood pressure. (22)

Differences Between Injecting Meth & Other Methods of Use

The way that an individual ingest meth can impact its effects. Smoking meth produces a similar effect that injecting meth does. Snorting meth and orally ingesting it causes a temporary euphoric high as opposed to an intense rush. (23)

Immediate & Intense Highs

Once an individual injects meth, there is an immediate effect. This is known as the rush or flash stage of a meth high. This rush can last for up to 30 minutes. (24) Those who engage in meth use often try to replicate the immediate rush, ingesting multiple doses.

Higher Chances of Overdose

Injecting meth causes quick and powerful effects. This can increase one’s chances of experiencing an overdose. In 2021, 32,537 individuals experienced a fatal overdose due to meth and other stimulant use. (25)

Signs of a meth overdose include: (26)

  • Aggressive or irritable behavior
  • Paranoia and delusions
  • Pain in the chest
  • Fast heart rate
  • Difficulties breathing
  • Increased body temperature
  • Heart attack
  • Seizures
  • Stroke

If you or someone you know are experiencing any of the above symptoms, seek immediate medical attention, as a meth overdose can be fatal.

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Methamphetamine Use Disorder Treatment

Here at Guardian Recovery, we offer treatment for those experiencing meth addiction and dependency. With psychoeducation and therapeutic treatment options, we help aid individuals in developing adaptive techniques in order to combat their substance use. Contact us today in order to receive a free, no obligation insurance benefits check. Start your recovery journey with Guardian Recovery.


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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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