Prevalence and correlates of street-obtained buprenorphine use among current and former injectors in Baltimore, Maryland

Becky L. Genberg, Mirinda Gillespie, Charles R. Schuster, Chris Ellyn Johanson, Jacquie Astemborski, Gregory D. Kirk, David Vlahov, Shruti H. Mehta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: There are few systematic assessments of street-obtained buprenorphine use from community-based samples in the United States. The objective of this study was to characterize the prevalence, correlates, and reasons for street-obtained buprenorphine use among current and former injection drug users (IDUs) in Baltimore, Maryland. Methods: In 2008, participants of the ALIVE (AIDS Linked to the IntraVenous Experience) study, a community-based cohort of IDUs, were administered a survey on buprenorphine. Street-obtained buprenorphine represented self-reported use of buprenorphine obtained from the street or a friend in the prior three months. Results: Six hundred and two respondents were predominantly male (65%), African-American (91%), and 30% were HIV-positive. Overall, nine percent reported recent street-obtained buprenorphine use, and only 2% reported using to get high. Among active opiate users, 23% reported recent use of street-obtained buprenorphine. Use of buprenorphine prescribed by a physician, injection and non-injection drug use, use of street-obtained methadone and prescription opiates, homelessness, and opioid withdrawal symptoms were positively associated, while methadone treatment, health insurance, outpatient care, and HIV-infection were negatively associated with recent street-obtained buprenorphine use in univariate analysis. After adjustment, active injection and heroin use were positively associated with street-obtained buprenorphine use. Ninety-one percent reported using street-obtained buprenorphine to manage withdrawal symptoms. Conclusions: While 9% reported recent street-obtained buprenorphine use, only a small minority reported using buprenorphine to get high, with the majority reporting use to manage withdrawal symptoms. There is limited evidence of diversion of buprenorphine in this sample and efforts to expand buprenorphine treatment should continue with further monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2868-2873
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume38
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

Keywords

  • Buprenorphine
  • Diversion
  • Drug treatment
  • Injection drug use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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