Article

Witnessing heroin-related overdoses: the experiences of young injectors in San Francisco.

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco, 94143, USA.
Addiction (Impact Factor: 4.6). 01/2003; 97(12):1511-6. DOI: 10.1046/j.1360-0443.2002.00210.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Assessment of young injectors' exposure and response to others' heroin-related overdose.
Cross-sectional survey.
San Francisco, CA, United States.
Nine hundred and seventy-three street-recruited current injectors under 30 years old.
Self-reported experiences of witnessing heroin-related overdoses from structured interviews.
Seven hundred and nine of 973 (73%) had ever witnessed at least one heroin-related overdose, and 491 of 973 (50%) had witnessed an overdose in the last 12 months. Fourteen per cent of those who had witnessed an overdose in the past year reported that the outcome of the overdose was death. Emergency services were called to 52% of most recent witnessed overdoses. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or expired air resuscitation (EAR or 'rescue breathing') was performed in 61% of cases. Inappropriate strategies such as injection with stimulants or application of ice were rare. In 67% of cases in which emergency services were not called the witness said this was because the victim regained consciousness. In the remaining 33%, 56% stated emergency services were not called due to fear of the police.
Respondents were willing to act at overdoses at which they were present, but frequently did not do so in the most efficacious manner. Fear of police was identified as the most significant barrier to the ideal first response of calling emergency services.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Jennifer L Evans, Sep 09, 2014
0 Followers
 · 
106 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Prescription opioids are the most frequently misused class of prescription drugs amongst young adults. Initiation into prescription opioid misuse is an important public health concern since opioids are increasingly associated with drug dependence and fatal overdose. Descriptive data about initiation into prescription opioid misuse amongst young injection drug users (IDUs) are scarce. An exploratory qualitative study was undertaken to describe patterns of initiation into prescription opioid misuse amongst IDUs aged 16-25 years. Those young IDUs who had misused a prescription drug at least three times in the past three months were recruited during 2008 and 2009 in Los Angeles (n=25) and New York (n=25). Informed by an ethno-epidemiological approach, descriptive data from a semi-structured interview guide were analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Initiation into prescription opioid misuse was facilitated by easy access to opioids via participant's own prescription, family, or friends, and occurred earlier than misuse of other illicit drugs, such as heroin. Nearly all transitioned into sniffing opioids, most injected opioids, and many initiated injection drug use with an opioid. Motives for transitions to sniffing and injecting opioids included obtaining a more potent high and/or substituting for heroin; access to multiple sources of opioids was common amongst those who progressed to sniffing and injecting opioids. Prescription opioid misuse was a key feature of trajectories into injection drug use and/or heroin use amongst this sample of young IDUs. A new pattern of drug use may be emerging whereby IDUs initiate prescription opioid misuse before using heroin.
    The International journal on drug policy 06/2011; 23(1):37-44. DOI:10.1016/j.drugpo.2011.05.014 · 2.54 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Naloxone, an opiate antagonist that can avert opiate overdose mortality, has only recently been prescribed to drug users in a few jurisdictions (Chicago, Baltimore, New Mexico, New York City, and San Francisco) in the United States. This report summarizes the first systematic evaluation of large-scale naloxone distribution among injection drug users (IDUs) in the United States. In 2005, we conducted an evaluation of a comprehensive overdose prevention and naloxone administration training program in New York City. One hundred twenty-two IDUs at syringe exchange programs (SEPs) were trained in Skills and Knowledge on Overdose Prevention (SKOOP), and all were given a prescription for naloxone by a physician. Participants in SKOOP were over the age of 18, current participants of SEPs, and current or former drug users. Participants completed a questionnaire that assessed overdose experience and naloxone use. Naloxone was administered 82 times; 68 (83.0%) persons who had naloxone administered to them lived, and the outcome of 14 (17.1%) overdoses was unknown. Ninety-seven of 118 participants (82.2%) said they felt comfortable to very comfortable using naloxone if indicated; 94 of 109 (86.2%) said they would want naloxone administered if overdosing. Naloxone administration by IDUs is feasible as part of a comprehensive overdose prevention strategy and may be a practicable way to reduce overdose deaths on a larger scale.
    Substance Use &amp Misuse 02/2008; 43(7):858-70. DOI:10.1080/10826080701801261 · 1.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Overdose is a leading cause of death among illicit drug users. Nine hundred twenty-four injection drug users (IDUs) in Baltimore, Maryland, were interviewed to characterize overdose events and determine the circumstances under which they lead to drug treatment. Overall, 366 (39.7%) reported at least one non-fatal drug overdose. Most (96.2%) used heroin on the day of their last overdose and almost half (42.6%) used heroin and alcohol but few (4.1%) used tranquilizers or benzodiazepines. Five percent were in drug treatment when the overdose occurred and 7.1% had been incarcerated 2 weeks prior. One in four IDUs (26.2%) sought drug treatment within 30 days after their last overdose of whom 75% enrolled. Speaking with someone about drug treatment after the overdose was associated with treatment seeking (AOR 5.22; 95% CI: 3.12, 8.71). Family members were the most commonly cited source of treatment information (53.7%) but only those who spoke with spouses, crisis counselors and hospital staff were more likely to seek treatment. Not being ready for treatment (69.6%) and not viewing drug use as a problem (30.7%) were the most common reasons for not seeking treatment and being placed on a waiting list was the most common reason for not subsequently enrolling in treatment (66.7%). Of the IDUs treated by emergency medical technicians, ER staff or hospital staff, only 17.3%, 26.2% and 43.2% reported getting drug treatment information from those sources, respectively. Interventions that provide drug treatment information and enhance motivation for treatment in the medical setting and policies that reduce barriers to treatment entry among motivated drug users are recommended.
    Drug and Alcohol Dependence 07/2006; 83(2):104-10. DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2005.10.015 · 3.28 Impact Factor