Pipes

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The following guides contains more information and tips for injection safety. Download to read or share, or print out the file to keep as a reference. 

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More Info

Glass:​

Routes of administration that most rapidly get drugs into the blood include inhalation- the drugs are suspended in air and pass to the blood through the lungs - and IV injection. Since the lungs are closer to the heart than any venous injection site, the effects will be most rapid from inhalation. However, there is a lot of variability in how smoke is ingested, and once ingested, how well the lung functions to absorb it, so drugs may be lost when smoked too. Furthermore, some substances burn differently than others and require different equipment for different kinds of smoke capture. For example, heroin is smoked through a “hammer” shaped pipe or burned on a piece of foil and the smoke is inhaled through a tube, crystal meth forms a liquid, so it is smoked from a glass bulb, and crack cocaine stays mostly solid and is smoked from a glass stem. The route of administration that most closely resembles IV use is rectal administration. The tissues in the anus change from being part of the gut - where the blood passes to the liver and drugs are broken down - to being more like the skin. There are highly vascularized anal columns at this point in the transition between tissue types. When drugs are slowly dribbled on the anal columns, it delivers a large effect for a smaller, less expensive amount of drugs. Administering drugs there also provides a rush, like IV injection. Any drug that can be made into an aqueous (watery) solution can be administered rectally.

 

Sniffing or snorting, like rectal administration, target highly vascularized tissues in the nostrils, which have rapid effect. Some drug will be lost to postnasal drip, down the back of the throat and into the gut. However, the tissues are fragile and prone to inflammation (we’ve all had stuffy noses!), so even though this is a common and convenient route of administration, it does not work as a long term habit. Heavy use by sniffing or snorting is associated with a breakdown of the vascular plexus in the nose, so less drug can be absorbed there.

Glassware

Rubber or plastic mouthpiece attached at the mouth end of the pipe prevents burns. Mouthpieces can differ in length and width to be the best fit for a stem.

  • Best: Rubber or plastic mouthpiece

  • OK: rubber bands, tape, or an empty cardboard matchbook

 

Pipes made of plastic, pop cans or copper add to the dangers of smoking crack by releasing toxic fumes when heated or burned. Thin glass pipes, such as light bulbs or syringes, break easily and can lead to cuts.

 

If you are aware of people who need glassware but are unable to access it at your program, wish.com has inexpensive glassware options.

 

Mouthpiece

Rubber or plastic mouthpiece attached at the mouth end of the pipe prevents burns. Mouthpieces can differ in length and width to be the best fit for a stem.

  • Best: Rubber or plastic mouthpiece

  • OK: rubber bands, tape, or an empty cardboard matchbook

 

Rubber or plastic mouthpiece attached at the mouth end of the pipe prevents burns. Mouthpieces can differ in length and width to be the best fit for a stem.

 

Push sticks

  • Best: Wooden (such as chopsticks or kebob sticks)

  • Please avoid: Metal pushers (such as a coat hanger or screwdriver) can chip or cause cracks in the glass stem, which can cause oral sores. Plastic pushers (such as a pen or syringe) can melt inside the pipe.

 

Metal pushers (such as a coat hanger or screwdriver) can chip or cause cracks in the glass stem, which can cause oral sores. Plastic pushers (such as a pen or syringe) can melt inside the pipe.

 

Other materials for safer smoking

  • Alcohol swabs and hand- Alcohol swabs and hand wipes for cleaning one’s hands and equipment before using the equipment. This prevents bacteria and germs in the environment from getting into the body.

  • Lighters- Lighters, so every individual can apply consistent heat to their own pipe. The lack of one’s own heat source increases the chance that a person will share a pipe with someone else.

  • Chewing gum- Chewing gum, to prevent lockjaw and keep the mouth hydrated.

  • Condoms, lube