University Of Tasmania

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

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 20:25 authored by Colledge, S, Larney, S, Raimondo BrunoRaimondo Bruno, Gibbs, D, Degenhardt, L, Yuen, WS, Dietze, p, Amy PeacockAmy Peacock
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.


Department of Health and Aged Care


Publication title

Drug and Alcohol Dependence: An International Journal on Biomedical and Psychosocial Approaches



Article number







School of Psychological Sciences


Elsevier Sci Ireland Ltd

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Socio-economic Objectives

Substance abuse