Publications & Reports

Profile and correlates of injecting-related injuries and diseases among people who inject drugs in Australia.

Colledge S, Larney S, Bruno R, Gibbs D, Degenhardt L, Yuen WS, Dietze P, Peacock A
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, 22-32 King st. Randwick, University of New South Wales Sydney, Sydney, Australia. Electronic address: [email protected]


INTRODUCTION: People who inject drugs (PWID) commonly experience harms related to their injecting, many of which are consequences of modifiable drug use practices. There is currently a gap in our understanding of how certain injecting-related injuries and diseases (IRID) cluster together, and socio-demographic and drug use characteristics associated with more complex clinical profiles. METHOD: Surveys were conducted with 902 Australian PWID in 2019. Participants provided information regarding their drug use, and past month experience of the following IRID: artery injection, nerve damage, skin and soft tissue infection, thrombophlebitis, deep vein thrombosis, endocarditis, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, and septicaemia. We performed a latent class analysis, grouping participants based on reported IRID and ran a class-weighted regression analysis to determine variables associated with class-membership. RESULTS: One-third (34 %) of the sample reported any IRID. A 3-class model identified: 1) no IRID (73 %), moderate IRID (21 %), and 3) high IRID (6%) clusters. Re-using one`s own needles was associated with belonging to the high IRID versus moderate IRID class (ARRR = 2.38; 95 % CI = 1.04-5.48). Other factors, including daily injecting and past 6-month mental health problems were associated with belonging to moderate and high IRID classes versus no IRID class. CONCLUSION: A meaningful proportion of PWID reported highly complex IRID presentations distinguished by the presence of thrombophlebitis and associated with greater re-use of needles. Increasing needle and syringe coverage remains critical in addressing the harms associated with injecting drug use and expanding the capacity of low-threshold services to address less severe presentations might aid in reducing IRID amongst PWID.

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  • Journal: Drug and Alcohol Dependence
  • Published: 29/08/2020
  • Volume: 216
  • Pagination: 108267