Harm Reduction Strategies When Using Cocaine
Be Smart About Supplies
Sharing anything that you use cocaine with can lead to infection. Snorting straws can pick up small particles that may carry infectious diseases. Likewise, a pipe with a broken piece may cut users unexpectedly and sharing a pipe puts you at risk for oral herpes and other diseases.
If you smoke cocaine, be cautious about burning yourself. Avoid using makeshift pipes or foil from bottles, cans, or other sources as you may be inhaling harmful chemicals. These can damage your lungs even more than the cocaine.
If you have never injected cocaine, it’s best not to start. The risks of abscesses from using the same injection site and missing a vein are too great. You’ll also want to avoid skin popping because cocaine is not well absorbed this way, so it’s really not worth it. It’s also never wise to inject any drug with needles that you are not 100% certain are sterile or that have been used by someone else.
Know where your local needle exchange program or safe injection facility is and take advantage of the resources they offer.