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

Samantha Colledge, Sarah Larney, Raimondo Bruno, Daisy Gibbs, Louisa Degenhardt, Wing See Yuen, Paul Dietze, Amy Peacock

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1 Citation (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108267
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Abscess
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Injecting-related injuries and diseases
  • Intravenous drug use
  • Skin and soft tissue infections
  • Thrombophlebitis

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