It is estimated that over 2.5 million individuals have used IV drugs in the United States alone, 4 and the emergency department (ED) is a common the point of entry to health care.5 Health care providers should be aware of drugs used in their catchment area and the street names and preparation and use rituals for those drugs. IVDUs should be asked about drug type(s) and amount, preparation of materials for injection (e.g., spitting on needles or use of saliva for drug reconstitution, reuse of needles), needle sharing, use of antibiotics, and coincident illness. Socioeconomic issues such as the IVDU's ability to purchase medications and return for follow-up also must be addressed when making dispositions. The IVDU patient should receive nonjudgmental instruction in measures to reduce their risk of complications and infections.
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