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What Does “Boofing” Drugs Mean?

Boofing is a slang term used to describe the process of ingesting a drug through the anus. It’s also called booty bumping, hooping, plugging, butt chugging, or UYB (up your bum). 

People most commonly boof heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. But most drugs, including alcohol, can be used in this manner. Some people associate the practice with anal sex, but this is a misconception.

The reason people take drugs this way is that it results in a faster high. The thin surface and the large number of blood vessels in the rectum or butt mean substances reach the bloodstream quickly. It’s why suppositories are an effective medical treatment. 

When you take drugs orally, they must travel through the digestive system before being absorbed into the bloodstream. Boofing allows drugs and alcohol to absorb quickly without a need to inject it directly into the bloodstream with a needle.

What are the Side Effects & Risks of Boofing? 

Boofing poses many risks, and there are side effects. For example:

  • Infection
  • Damage to the anus
  • Risk of contracting diseases, many of which are usually associated with intravenous drug use
  • High chance of overdose
  • Over-amping, which occurs when you experience a non-fatal overdose of amphetamines

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Symptoms of Overdose From Boofing

Symptoms of a boofing overdose include:

  • Slowed or halted breathing
  • Limp body
  • Blue-tinged fingernails or lips
  • Unresponsiveness

What Does Boofing Feel Like? 

Boofing results in a faster high. 

Some people who have used this method say they feel the sensations in their limbs and torso more than when they ingest a drug orally or through the respiratory system (smoking). 

Using these more common methods creates a head rush that isn’t the norm for people who boof drugs.

Some people also say they feel sexually aroused when boofing.

Not all of the sensations from boofing are pleasant. Some drug users who try this method describe it as uncomfortable, irritating, or painful. 

What Types of Substances are Used in Boofing?

You can ingest most drugs or substances through boofing. However, the most common drugs include:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine

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How Does Boofing Work?

Boofing might seem intimidating or unappealing for a lot of people. 

However, someone addicted to a drug might find their intense cravings and need to hide some of the side effects of other drug use methods. 

This prompts them to try boofing.

To boof, you need:

  • A syringe
  • A clean shot glass or small cup for mixing
  • Sterile water
  • Something to stir with
  • Petroleum jelly or another type of lubricant
  • Vitamin E capsules
  • A scale for measuring drug dosage
  • Some people keep a second drug on hand to reverse a possible overdose

The process of boofing includes the following steps:

  1. Start with a bowel movement to avoid messy complications
  2. Plan your dosage – most people start small, even if they’re experienced drug users – and the amount of water you’ll dilute the drug with
  3. Pour the water into the mixing cup
  4. Add and dissolve the drug in the water
  5. Fill and prepare the syringe
  6. Lay on your back, side, or stomach, or stand with one leg raised
  7. Insert the syringe in your anus about a centimeter deep and release the plunger of the syringe
  8. Once empty, remove the syringe and dispose of it

Some people insert the vitamin E tablet following the removal of the syringe because it helps repair the tiny tears caused by the process. 

How Long Does Boofing Take to Work?

Most people experience the effects of boofing within minutes. It can last several hours, depending on the substance and the size of the dosage. 

Methamphetamine typically takes about 3 to 5 minutes to take effect. Heroin tends to be faster. In some cases, as quickly as intravenous drug use.

Is Boofing Safer Than Injecting, Sniffing, or Smoking Drugs?

Yes and no.

Any method you use for ingesting an illicit drug or misusing any drug is dangerous. There are different risks associated with varying methods of ingestion. Some of these are more dangerous than others.

The primary reason boofing might not be considered as safe as other methods of ingesting a drug is the risk it poses to the rectum. 

Additionally, there is a much higher risk of overdose with boofing than with sniffing or smoking a drug.

Many people consider boofing a safer alternative to injecting a drug. This is because, despite some of the risks these methods share, you don’t need to worry about collapsed veins, abscesses, endocarditis, or bloodstream infections. 

Sniffing and smoking are usually considered safer than boofing, as long as you take appropriate safety measures. When smoking or sniffing, you avoid the risks associated with the use of the syringe. 

In some cases, though, boofing might be safer because it makes it easier for some to moderate their use of a drug. 

It also helps you avoid the health risks associated with sniffing and snorting, such as bloody noses, septum and nasal tissue damage, and respiratory damage. 

Do You Have a Substance Use Problem?

Recognizing that you’ve developed a substance use problem is an important step in recovering from the disorder. 

Symptoms of addiction include:

  • Being unable to eliminate the use of or cut back on a substance even when you want to
  • Obsessing over your ability to use the substance again or taking action to create an ongoing supply of the substance
  • Experiencing intense cravings
  • Focusing a lot of time on getting, using, and recovering from the substance 
  • Neglecting responsibilities at work and school 
  • Experiencing personal problems
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Engaging in risky behavior 
  • Continuing use despite recognizing the harm it’s causing
  • Experiencing symptoms associated with withdrawal 
  • Developing tolerance and needing larger or more frequent doses to achieve the same effect
  • Lack of motivation or energy that isn’t focused on the use of the substance
  • Neglecting hygiene and appearance
  • Committing criminal acts to gain access to the substance

Treatment Options for Substance Use Disorder (SUD)

There are many treatment options available for people who have developed a substance use disorder. 

Treatment for drug use and addiction varies from person to person and is most effective when methods are used in combination with one another. 

The two most common drug addiction treatment approaches include pharmacological and behavioral methods. 

Many addiction treatment options are available that can be used alone or together to deal with drug and alcohol use. For example:

  • Recovery support services, including 12-step programs like Narcotics Anonymous (NA), residential care facilities, and outpatient programs
  • Behavioral therapy approaches, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Contingency Management (CM), and Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
  • Medically-assisted therapy (MAT) that utilizes addiction medications that reduce the symptoms of withdrawal and cravings for the drug
  • Family-based therapy approaches, such as Family Behavior Therapy (FBT), Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT), and Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT)

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, whether boofing is involved or not, an addiction specialist can help.

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Resources

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LESS

(1) “ Signs and Symptoms of Addiction | Psychology Today.” www.psychologytoday.com.

(2) Mayo Clinic. “ Drug Addiction (Substance Use Disorder) - Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic, 26 Oct. 2017.

(3) “Plugging Ecstasy? | Go Ask Alice!” Goaskalice.columbia.edu. 

(4) National Institute on Drug Abuse. “ Understanding Drug Use and Addiction.” Drugabuse.gov, June 2018.

(5) “ Infectious Diseases, Opioids and Injection Drug Use in Persons Who Inject Drugs | CDC.” www.cdc.gov, 10 Dec. 2019.

(6) “ The Science of Drug Use and Addiction: The Basics.” Drugabuse.gov, July 2018.

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