Enter the right search terms into Google, and you'll find an abundant supply of articles and how-to's. Ranging from various methods of sterilizing a needle yourself, instructions for bleaching syringes, and how to sharpen an old, dull syringe; websites and articles touting instructions are not only incredibly dangerous, but highly ill informed. It is never, ever a good idea to reuse a syringe, regardless of whether you've cleaned or sharpened it. If you perform these procedures wrong in even the slightest way, you can end up with some disastrous effects. What exactly are the risks? Let's take a look.
Another problem that comes along with the reuse of syringes is the risk of contracting any number of different infections and diseases. A very preventable, but highly common problem amongst IV drug users are abscesses. I'll warn you now - that's probably not something you want to type into Google unless you're prepared for some graphic images. Caused by bacteria forced into the body through a syringe, abscesses are painful, puss filled masses that most commonly occur over the injection site on the skin. Luckily, abscesses are treatable, although it's not exactly a comfortable process to have it lanced and drained in the ER, and then packed daily by a nurse for weeks (trust me, I know). Unfortunately, many IV drug users end up with problems that are not so easily treatable. Diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV are serious diseases that can be contracted through the reuse and sharing of syringes, and will follow the user for life.
There is hope breaking on the horizon though, as some interesting new syringe designs are being produced with the aim of helping to reduce the incidence of syringe reuse. There are varying models and designs now available that help to ensure a syringe will in fact be 'single use only'. How exactly is this accomplished. While different models employ different methods, generally an auto destruct syringe provides an effective way of ensuring that a needle is in fact only used once by ceasing to function after the first injection. Some versions will cause the plunger to lock up after one use, others causing the plunger to snap off altogether, or have a removable plastic tabs to indicate if the syringe has been used before.
By implementing these new auto destruct syringes into the current model of Harm Reduction, as well as further educating IV drug users of the dangers associated with syringe refuse, the rate of occurrence as well as the risks of infection and disease, can be drastically reduced. Harm reduction works.
Source: NSO http://www.NSO.com
Image: Diabetes Daily http://www.diabetesdaily.com