Publications & Reports

The association between intentional overdose and same-sex sexual intercourse in a cohort of people who inject drugs in Melbourne, Australia.

O'Keefe D, Bowring A, Aitken C, Dietze P


BACKGROUND: People who inject drugs (PWID) are at disproportionately high risk of suicidal behaviors, as are individuals who report same-sex attraction or experience. However, there is little evidence of compounded risk of suicide for individuals who report same-sex sexual intercourse (SSI) and are PWID.

OBJECTIVES: To explore the associations of lifetime intentional overdose amongst a cohort of PWID, with particular attention to those reporting SSI.

METHODS: The sample included 529 participants, from an ongoing cohort of 757 PWID. An “ever” SSI variable was created for participants who reported sexual intercourse with a same-sex partner at any longitudinal interview. We explored the adjusted associations between SSI and lifetime intentional overdose using logistic regression.

RESULTS: Ninety-one (17%) participants reported ever experiencing an intentional overdose. Forty-one (8%) participants reported SSI at any interview. Three hundred and sixty (68%) participants reported diagnosis of a mental health condition. Diagnosis of a mental health condition (AOR = 2.02, 95% CIs: 1.14, 3.59) and SSI (AOR = 2.58, 95% CIs: 1.22, 5.48) significantly increased the odds of lifetime intentional overdose.

Conclusions/Importance: We found a heightened risk of intentional overdose amongst PWID reporting SSI, after controlling for diagnosis of a mental health condition. Services need to be aware of this heightened risk and target interventions appropriately.

Link to publisher’s web site



  • Journal: Substance Use and Misuse
  • Published: 01/02/2018
  • Volume: 53
  • Issue: 5
  • Pagination: 755-762