What are Differences between Non‑injecting and Injecting Drug Addicts?

Mehdi Mehdi Noroozi, Saharnaz Nejat, Banafsheh Golestan, Reza Majdzadeh


Background: This study aims to identify the differences between Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) and non‑IDUs, with regard to some potential factors. This could be useful to design effective interventions for harm reduction, which is one of the priority areas in reducing the burden of addiction.

Methods: Sixty cases and 60 controls participated in this pair‑matched case‑control study, which was conducted in Tehran. The cases were IDUs who were asked to introduce two friends; one IDU and the other non‑IDU as the paired control. In addition to demographic variables, onset age of cigarette smoking, dropping out of school, imprisonment, history of being sexually abused for money, and family history of using illegal drugs were obtained from the cases and controls via an interview. Pair Odds Ratio (OR) was estimated through McNemar and conditional multivariable logistic regression analysis.

Results: Eighty‑three % of the IDUs and 92% the controls were male. The mean for onset age of cigarette smoking was 16 in the cases and 20 in the controls, which was significantly different between cases and controls (P<0.001).

In the multivariate analysis, dropping out from school was significantly different between cases and controls (OR=4.22 95% CI: 2.23 – 14.0). Imprisonment was more frequent in IDUs compared to non‑IDUs (OR=3.70 95% CI: 1.09 – 11.08). The cases had more sexual relationship for earning money compared to the controls (OR=3.14 95% CI: 1.24 – 13.70). Onset age of cigarette smoking was significantly (P<0.001) sooner in the IDUs compared to the non‑IDUs (15.9 and 20.1 years, respectively). IDUs reported 5.5 times more that non‑IDUs of having an addict in their family (P value=0.04).

Conclusion: The finding of this study can be useful in identifying the persons who are at risk of IDU. Therefore, people who involve with risk factors recognized in this study should be triggered for harm reduction prevention strategies.

Keywords: Addiction, case control, injection drug use, snowball sampling

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