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I was an IV drug user and I damaged my veins, will they ever return back to normal?

Luckily, I am in a treatment program and also I didn't contract HIV or Hep C. so now I just have to worry about staying clean. Anyways. I used heroin on and off for about 15 years intravenously. Nurses have an almost impossible time finding veins to draw blood in my arms and it's a painful experience. They usually have to resort to getting it from the veins in my hands which isn't pleasant. Will my veins ever be normal again? Are they collapsed from using them too much or what? Thanks.

I am currently a phlebotomist for approx. 15 years. You may be a person with small veins and water would hydrate your veins prior to any draws. If there are no scar tissue under the site yes with time you can find more locations as long as no more IV drug use is done. But, if baby needle is used for the hand make sure you are hanging your hand downwards and allowing blood to flow to that part of the hand. It makes it easier to pick a better site for drawing.

Unfortunately, scar tissue has built up where your veins were damaged, and it's a lot tougher, less flexible, and harder to puncture with a needle. Some may have collapsed and completely shut down.
In time, your body may find ways to bypass damaged areas, but this doesn't mean you'll grow accessible blood vessels.
Take care of yourself, be healthy, that's all you can do. You'll likely have a central vein catheter inserted into a little-used large vein in your chest if you need IV medications.

I have been told I have crappy veins as well, and lab techs used to have to 'dig' around and often ended up using my hand. An anesthesiologist told me to drink LOTS of water starting a couple of days before I am going to have an IV or blood drawn and that will help 'plump' up the veins. It seems to work very well for me. Maybe it's the oxygen in the water, I don't know, but works.

You may just have tiny veins. One thing you can do to help the nurses is to drink a lot of water about a hour or 2 before you go. That helps to get the veins all nice and juicy for those vampires.

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