This article is published from Insider's News, which is a magazine available in every NSW correctional centre

It’s important to look after yourself

Filtering your mix helps to avoid dirty hits and protects your veins. Here’s how to filter your mix when you’re inside.


Why Filter?

When you inject drugs with impurities in them, you can get a “dirty” hit and end up sick (headaches and vomiting) instead of stoned, with all that effort and risk for nothing. It does pass after five or six hours but you can avoid it by using cleanly and using a filter.

Filters also help get rid of any particles in your mix that might get caught in your veins. That may cause hardened veins you can no longer use or you could even lose a limb. Those particles can also get caught in your organs, resulting in organ failure.

Filtering as best you can will decrease the amount of impurities that you end up injecting.

Some people think filters ‘steal’ their drugs, but only a very small amount may be lost – so small that you won’t notice any difference in effects. However, if you’re still worried, suck on your filter or swallow it.


What To Use As A Filter

Outside you can use cotton wool, a cotton rollie filter, cotton from the end of an ear bud, a tampon or get drug-specific filters like Sterifilts or wheel filters from a chemist or NSP (Needle and Syringe Program / needle exchange).


Inside, you may need to be more inventive. People who have used inside suggest some options. Whatever you use, make sure it’s clean and don’t reuse it.

  • Cotton from tampons or pads (a top option as these are sterile)
  • Tea bag cotton string or filter paper
  • Small piece of paper towel, writing paper or toilet paper
  • Stuffing/fluff
  • Tiny piece of clean fabric


How To Filter

1. Wash your hands or use gloves before handling filters to help avoid injections and dirty shots.

2. Take your filter from the centre or least handled part of the cotton, tampon, fluff, paper etc.

3. If using cotton string or fluff, press into a tight, tiny ball. (You can roll paper into a ball too but you need to use something to keep it tight and stop it swelling when wet, like putting it in the end hole of a safety pin.)

4. Float a very small piece in your mix – it only has to be slightly bigger than the needle end.

5. Rest the needle lightly on top so that you are pulling the liquid into the fit through the filter.


A Double-Filter Technique

This will help get as much gunk out of your mix as possible.

1. Gather your filter material.

2. Split your filter material into two small tightly packed balls.

3. Put the first filter in your mix and balance the second one on top of the first one.

4. Draw up your mix through the filter on top. Particles will not only get caught in the filter material, but in the gap between the two of them.