Between-City Variation in Frequency of Injection Among Puerto Rican Injection Drug Users: East Harlem, New York, and Bayamon, Puerto Rico
ABSTRACT Frequency of injection has been consistently found to be higher among Puerto Rican Injection drug users (IDUs) than among other groups of IDUs. Several explanations have been suggested, but an empirical explanation has yet to be presented. This study compares the frequency of injection of Puerto Rican IDUs in East Harlem, New York, with that of IDUs in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Study subjects comprised 521 Puerto Rican IDUs from East Harlem and 303 IDUs from Bayamon. The mean frequency of injection among IDUs in East Harlem was 2.8, the corresponding mean in Bayamon was 5.4. Younger IDUs reported a higher number of daily injection episodes than older IDUs, and the IDU group in Bayamon was 5 years younger than the group in East Harlem. The drug use variables accounted for a greater portion of the between-city difference than the demographic and psychosocial variables. Use of noninjected drugs, as well as the use of prescribed methadone, were found to be associated with a lower number of daily injections. Conversely, injection of cocaine, injection of cocaine mixed with heroin ("speedball"), and injection of larger amounts of drug solution were found to be associated with a higher number of daily injections.
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ABSTRACT: Latinos, and Puerto Ricans in particular, have been disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. Severe mental illness (SMI) is associated with an increase in HIV risk. Relatively little research has focused on the role of SMI among Puerto Rican injection drug users (IDUs) and non-IDUs in susceptibility to and transmission of HIV and there are few published reports on HIV risk among Latina SMI. We conducted a longitudinal mixed methods study with 53 Puerto Rican women with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression to examine the cultural context of HIV risk and HIV knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors among a larger study with Puerto Rican and Mexican women with serious mental illness (SMI). There was a high prevalence of past and current substance use and a high prevalence of substance use-associated HIV risk behaviors, such as unprotected sexual relations with an IDU. The violence associated with substance use frequently increased participants' HIV risk. Choice of substance of abuse depended on cost, availability, and use within the individual participant's network. Participants attributed their substance use to the need to relieve symptoms associated with their mental illness, ameliorate unpleasant feelings, and deaden emotional pain. HIV prevention interventions for poorer Puerto Rican women with SMI must target the individuals themselves and others within their networks if the women are to be supported in their efforts to reduce substance use-related risk. The content of any intervention must address past and current trauma and its relationship to substance use and HIV risk, as well as strategies to prevent HIV transmission.Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 02/2011; 13(4):681-9. · 1.16 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Little information exists on the population prevalence or geographic distribution of injection drug users (IDUs) who are Hispanic in the USA. Here, we present yearly estimates of IDU population prevalence among Hispanic residents of the 96 most populated US metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) for 1992-2002. First, yearly estimates of the proportion of IDUs who were Hispanic in each MSA were created by combining data on (1) IDUs receiving drug treatment services in Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)'s Treatment Entry Data System, (2) IDUs being tested in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HIV-Counseling and Testing System, and (3) incident AIDS diagnoses among IDUs, supplemented by (4) data on IDUs who were living with AIDS. Then, the resulting proportions were multiplied by published yearly estimates of the number of IDUs of all racial/ethnic groups in each MSA to produce Hispanic IDU population estimates. These were divided by Hispanic population data to produce population prevalence rates. Time trends were tested using mixed-effects regression models. Hispanic IDU prevalence declined significantly on average (1992 mean = 192, median = 133; 2002 mean = 144, median = 93; units are per 10,000 Hispanics aged 15-64). The highest prevalence rates across time tended to be in smaller northeastern MSAs. Comparing the last three study years to the first three, prevalence decreased in 82% of MSAs and increased in 18%. Comparisons with data on drug-related mortality and hepatitis C mortality supported the validity of the estimates. Generally, estimates of Hispanic IDU population prevalence were higher than published estimates for non-Hispanic White residents and lower than published estimates for non-Hispanic Black residents. Further analysis indicated that the proportion of IDUs that was Hispanic decreased in 52% and increased in 48% of MSAs between 2002 and 2007. The estimates resulting from this study can be used to investigate MSA-level social and economic factors that may have contributed to variations across MSAs and to help guide prevention program planning for Hispanic IDUs within MSAs. Future research should attempt to determine to what extent these trends are applicable to Hispanic national origin subgroups.Journal of Urban Health 03/2012; 89(3):527-64. · 1.89 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) is a key element in treatment for opiate addiction; however concerns about the diversion of methadone remain. More current empirical data on methadone diversion are required. This research investigated the market for diverted methadone in Merseyside, UK, in order to provide a case study which can be transferred to other areas undertaking methadone maintenance treatment on a large scale. Questionnaires were completed (in interview format) with 886 past year users of methadone recruited both in and out of prescribing agencies. Topic areas covered included current prescribing, obtaining and providing methadone, reasons for using illicit methadone and other drug use. Large proportions of participants had obtained illicit methadone for use in the past year with smaller proportions doing so in the past month. Proportions of participants buying and being given methadone were similar. Exchange of methadone primarily took place between friends and associates, with 'dealers' rarely involved. Gender, age, whether participant's methadone consumption was supervised and whether the aims of their treatment had been explained to them fully, influenced the extent to which participants were involved in diverting or using diverted methadone. Methadone diversion is widespread although drug users generally do not make use of illicit methadone regularly (every month). The degree of altruism involved in the exchange of methadone does not negate the potential role of this action in overdose or the possibility of criminal justice action against individuals. Treatment agencies need to emphasise these risks whilst ensuring that treatment aims are effectively shared with clients to ensure adherence to treatment.Harm Reduction Journal 01/2012; 9:3. · 1.26 Impact Factor