Online Program

Prescription opioid injection and HCV among young injection drug users

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 2:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Stephen E. Lankenau, PhD, Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University, School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Karol Silva, MPH, Department of Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Aleksandar Kecojevic, MPH, DrPH(c), Department of Community Health, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Background. Incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) has increased among young adults over the past 10 years. During this same period, misuse of prescription opioids (PO) has risen among young adults. This analysis compares young injection drug users (IDUs) who have ever injected PO with young IDUs who have not to determine negative health outcomes associated with injecting PO, including HCV.

Methodology. Young IDUs were recruited in New York and Los Angeles between 2009-11. Eligible participants had misused any prescription drug at least three times in the past three months. A total of 253 young adults who had ever injected drugs qualified for study enrollment. Multivariate analysis focused on factors associated with ever injecting PO, including patterns of drugs use, syringe sharing, and HCV.

Results. A greater proportion of the sample had ever injected PO (60.9%) compared to those who had not (39.1%). Key factors associated with PO injection included: current IDU; ever incarcerated; and ever injected crack cocaine. PO injectors had greater odds of sharing syringes in the past three months compared to non-PO injectors. 70.2% of PO self-reported as being HCV positive compared to 29.8% of non-PO injectors. In a final multivariate model, HCV was associated with crack injection and recent syringe sharing but not PO injection.

Conclusions. Prevalence of HCV and ever injecting PO and crack was high among this sample. Increasing incidence of HCV among young IDUs may be linked to less common drug using practices, such as injecting crack and PO in some cases.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss multi-site sampling design of young IDUs Identify emerging risk factors associated with HCV among young IDUs Describe different risks for HCV posed by diverse types of drugs

Keyword(s): Prescription Drug Use Patterns, Hepatitis C

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator on this study, which was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and focuses on prescription drug misuse among young adults.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.