Crack-heroin speedball injection and its implications for vein care: Qualitative study

Article


Rhodes, Tim, Briggs, Daniel, Kimber, Jo, Jones, Steve and Holloway, Greg 2007. Crack-heroin speedball injection and its implications for vein care: Qualitative study. Addiction. 102 (11), pp. 1782-790.
AuthorsRhodes, Tim, Briggs, Daniel, Kimber, Jo, Jones, Steve and Holloway, Greg
Abstract

Background We report on an exploratory qualitative study investigating drug injectors’ narratives of vein damage and groin (femoral vein) injection associated with the injection of crack-heroin speedball. Methods We undertook 44 in-depth qualitative interviews among injectors of crack-heroin speedball in Bristol and London, England, in 2006. Findings Data suggests an emerging culture of crack-based speedball injection. Injectors’ narratives link speedball injection with shifts towards groin injection articulated as an acceptable risk and not merely as a last resort in the face of increased vein deterioration associated with speedball. Accounts of vein damage linked to speedball emphasise ‘missed hits’ related to the local anaesthetic action of crack, the excess use of citric in the preparation of speedball injections, and ‘flushing’ when making a hit. We find that groin injection persists despite an awareness of health risks and medical complications. Conclusions We emphasise an urgent need for reviewing harm reduction in relation to vein care in the context of shifts to crack-based speedball injection, and the use of the femoral vein, among UK injectors. There is an additional need for interventions to promote safer groin and speedball injecting as well as to prevent transitions toward groin and crack injection.

KeywordsCrack; Speedball; Groin; Femoral vein; Injecting drug use; Harm reduction
JournalAddiction
Journal citation102 (11), pp. 1782-790
ISSN1360-0443
Year2007
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1624
Publication dates
Print03 Sep 2007
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Jun 2012
Additional information

Citation:
Rhodes, T., Briggs, D., Kimber, J., Jones S. and Holloway, G. (2007), ‘Crack-heroin speedball injection and its implications for vein care: Qualitative study’, Addiction, 102(11), pp. 1782-790, DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2007.01969.x.

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