Profile and correlates of injecting-related injuries and diseases among people who inject drugs in Australia
Colledge, S and Larney, S and Bruno, R and Gibbs, D and Degenhardt, L and Yuen, WS and Dietze, p and Peacock, A, Profile and correlates of injecting-related injuries and diseases among people who inject drugs in Australia, Drug and Alcohol Dependence: An International Journal on Biomedical and Psychosocial Approaches, 216 Article 108267. ISSN 0376-8716 (2020) [Refereed Article]
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.
injection related injuries and diseases, intravenous drug use, skin and soft tissue infections, abscess, thrombophlebitis, deep vein thrombosis