Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Differences in Polysubstance Use Patterns & Drug-Related Outcomes between People Who Inject Drugs Receiving & Not Receiving Opioid Substitution Therapies

To test if polysubstance use profiles and drug-related outcomes differ between those receiving and not receiving opioid substitution therapies (OST), among people who inject drugs (PWID).

An annual cross-sectional, sentinel sample of PWID across Australia 

Data came from three years (2011-2013) of the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS).

A total of 2,673 participants who injected drugs from the combined national IDRS samples of 2011 (n = 868), 2012 (n = 922), and 2013 (n = 883) 

Latent Class Analysis (LCA) was used to summarise participants' self-reported use of 18 types of substances, with the resulting polysubstance use profiles then associated with participant experience of a number of drug-related outcomes.

Polysubstance use profiles exhibiting a broad-range of substance use were generally at increased risk of negative drug-related outcomes whether participants were receiving OST or not: including thrombosis among OST receivers [odds ratio (OR)=2.13, 95% confidence intervals (CI) = 1.09-4.17], injecting with used needle among OST receivers and non-receivers respectively, and violent criminal offences among OST receivers and non-receivers respectively. An important exception was non-fatal overdose which was specifically related to a class of PWID who were not receiving OST and used morphine frequently.

Regardless of opioid substitution therapies usage, people who inject drugs (PWID) who use a broad-range of substances experience greater levels of injecting-related injuries and poorer health outcomes and are more likely to engage in criminal activity than other groups of PWID.

Purchase full article at:

  • 1School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, 4th floor, Public Health Building, Herston Rd, Herston, QLD, 4006, Australia.
  • 2Centre for Youth Substance Abuse, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
  • 3QADREC, School of Population Health Building, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
  • 4MacFarlane Burnet Institute for Medical and Public Health Research, Melbourne, Australia.
  • 5National Drug and Alcohol Centre, University of New South Wales, NSW, 2052, Australia.
  • 6School of Public Health and Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
  •  2016 Feb 8. doi: 10.1111/add.13339.

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