The relationship between drug use settings, roles in the drug economy, and witnessing a drug overdose in Baltimore, Maryland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: There has been a dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths in the United States. In the current study, the authors examined factors associated with witnessing a drug overdose. Methods: A sample of 450 substance users in Baltimore, Maryland, were recruited for a behavioral intervention and were administered a survey. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to compare participants who never witnessed a drug overdose with those who witnessed one in the prior 6 months and those who witnessed an overdose over 6 months ago. Results: Most (58%) participants were male, 40% experienced homelessness in the prior 6 months, 63% reported a history of heroin injecting, 84% had snorted heroin, 75% reported witnessing a drug overdose, and 38% experienced an overdose. In multinomial logistic regression models, witnessing an overdose in the past 6 months was associated with number of different types of places where drugs were used (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.34), history of experiencing an overdose (aOR = 1.80), injecting heroin and/or speedball (aOR = 1.78), and snorting heroin (aOR = 1.54). Witnessing an overdose more than 6 months ago was associated with number of different places where drugs were used (aOR = 1.25), history of experiencing an overdose (aOR = 1.61), snorting heroin (aOR = 1.42), and injecting heroin or speedball (aOR = 1.47). Conclusions: These data suggest that people who engage in more public and frequent drug use, and hence are more likely to witness an overdose, should be targeted for interventions to prevent and treat drug overdose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalSubstance Abuse
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Apr 2 2018

Keywords

  • Heroin
  • injection drug use
  • opioids
  • overdose
  • syringe exchange
  • witness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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