Citation: elstupido. "Pharm Injection to Pulmonary Embolism: An Experience with Methylphenidate (exp93385)". Erowid.org. Apr 22, 2020. erowid.org/exp/93385
Intravenous (IV) injection of crushed pills/tablets can be very dangerous due to unknown substances, binders, and fillers present. Any substance injected directly into the blood stream should be very pure. Clean needles and medically appropriate techniques should be used to avoid serious injury or death.]
I started using drugs and alcohol at around 12 years old; I'm almost 30 now, still using occasionally, but nothing like before I had my 'near death experience' last year, ironically caused by my need to use something when I couldn't get my hands on my usual cocaine and/or heroin.
I've been shooting dope and coke (as well as using pretty much anything that comes my way, excluding hallucinogens) for years. I've had periods of clean time over the years, but when this particular incident occurred, I was using cocaine and heroin intravenously on a more or less daily basis. Despite the inherent self-destructiveness of this kind of drug usage, I always considered myself a 'safe' (relatively, of course) addict, as I was insistent upon using clean works (to the point of paranoia) and my tolerance was such that I didn't really have to worry about over-dosing (as much as one can not worry - - by that I mean that even with an incredible tolerance, every shot is a roll of the dice, and I was fully aware of that) and keeping things as clean and hygienic as possible. I should also mention that I'm on a virtual plethora of psychotropic meds for my bipolar disorder (lithium, various anti-psychotics, etc.)
I should also mention that I'm on a virtual plethora of psychotropic meds for my bipolar disorder (lithium, various anti-psychotics, etc.)
- - it's not really pertinent to the incident I'm going to relate, but it explains… Well, I'm getting ahead of myself.
The day it happened was remarkable only in that it was the third or fourth in a row that I had been unable to score any coke and I was starting to go a little nuts from the psychological withdrawal. I had heroin, but that was more of a maintenence thing and wasn't doing anything for my coke need. I kept calling my dealer, but finally had to conclude that he had probably been arrested or something, as the phone wasn't even ringing to answering machine anymore. At that point I began to search my house for drugs (not necessarily logical, but it made sense at the time… and it was true that sometimes I would hide a small stash and forget about it until I found it at a later time, usually completely randomly). I looked for a least an hour and found absolutely nothing. I was about to call my dealer again when I remembered that I had been given a few tabs of ritalin by one of my friends last time I had to pull an all-nighter awhile back and that I hadn't taken them at the time. A minute later I found the pills, secreted in one of my old prescription bottles and shoved to the back of my desk drawer.
Here's where I made my crucial mistake: Upon finding the pills, I should have either ingested them orally or crunched them up for insufflation. But I was jonesing for that IV coke high, so I decided to try to shoot them. I knew it was a bad idea, but I pushed my misgivings to the back of my head and prepped a needle. I prepared a solution of methylphenidate and sterile water (crushed up the ritalin, added the H2O with a needle, filtered with cotton in the usual manner, etc.), tied off my arm, and - after a little work - found a vein, registered, and injected. They were 20 mg pills, three of them, so (assuming I retained all of the drug after filtration, which would've been unlikely) I took around 60 mg total. It was a decent shot, and I did feel something vaguely resembling a very weak coke high, but it didn't last very long and I was, overall, disappointed (though not exactly surprised). Mild euphoria that lasted less than 30 minutes. Afterwards I felt kind of irritable and I had some trouble getting to sleep, even after ingesting 4 or 5 mgs of alprazolam (I have a bit of a benzo thing, too).
Skip ahead to the next day which featured my admission to a psych hospital after a violent outburst that was chalked up to a low lithium level by my doctors. (This part sounds irrelevant, but actually it isn't.) I wasn't exactly happy about being institutionalized, and got into a rather wild scuffle in the emergency unit, where I punched a security guard and was subsequently beat up ('restrained') by 5 or 6 of his buddies. When I woke up (I had been heavily sedated), I was on a bed in a padded room on the psych floor. And I was having trouble breathing, for some reason. Next, I developed crushing chest pain. Sweating and gasping for air, I struggled to get up and find someone to help me. My door wasn't locked, but a guard sat at the door. I tried to explain to him that I needed a nurse. He told me to go lie back down. I didn't have the strength to argue, so I obeyed. I stayed like that for hours; hardly able to breathe and in an amazing amount of pain. Finally, a group of doctors showed up at my door for rounds. Between gasps, I tried to communicate what was going on. The doctors showed little interest and left after telling me that I had probably just broken a rib or two during my brawl downstairs. More hours passed. I began to actively wish I would just die so the pain would end. And I also began to realize that I was probably going to die, if somebody didn't do something soon.
I was probably going to die, if somebody didn't do something soon.
I didn't really care.
Almost a whole 24 hours of this torture continued, every hour seeing the pain increase and the breathing difficulties worsen. Finally, a lone doctor entered the room. One of the ones from the day before, but now he was alone. Apparently, he had some sort of diagnostic revelation and had brought a pulse oximeter to test his theory. Most people have had this test at some point in their lives; it's pretty simple: just a small monitor that clips on the patient's finger and measures the percentage of O2 in the blood. Normal is like, anywhere from 98% up. I came in at 74%. Not good. Things moved quickly after that - - O2 mask, IV anticoagulants, about a million different tests, doctors, and so on.
The funny thing was that no one could figure why in hell a healthy 30 year old (well, a healthy 30 year old drug addict) had developed a pulmonary embolus. Until I admitted to the ritalin pill injection. Apparently, they cut those pills with something which can cause a spectacular clot when introduced to a circulatory system.
I guess the same thing could happen shooting dope or coke; you never know what kind of foreign particulate matter is in the drugs in your needle. But it's also true that before this happened, I'd been shooting those particular two drugs for over a decade without incident (well, without THAT incident). I don't want to say that shooting heroin and cocaine is safe or anything like that, but if given a choice between shooting either of those two drugs or some crushed up pills… Well, I'd go with the stuff intended for injection over trying to turn pills into a substitute intravenously abusable material.
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