Non-injection drug use and Hepatitis C Virus: a systematic review.

Center for Drug Use and HIV Research, National Development and Research Institutes (NDRI), 71 West 23rd Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10010, United States.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence (Impact Factor: 3.28). 07/2007; 89(1):1-12. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2006.11.014
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This systematic review examined the evidence on the prevalence of the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in non-injecting drug users (NIDUs) who sniff, smoke or snort drugs such as heroin, cocaine, crack or methamphetamine. The search included studies published from January 1989 to January 2006. Twenty-eight eligible studies were identified and the prevalence of HCV in these NIDU populations ranged from 2.3 to 35.3%. There was substantial variation in study focus and in the quality of the NIDU data presented in the studies. The results of our systematic review suggested that there are important gaps in the research of HCV in NIDUs. We identified a problem of study focus; much of the research did not aim to study HCV in users of non-injection drugs. Instead, NIDUs were typically included as a secondary research concern, with a principal focus on the problem of transmission of HCV in IDU populations. Despite methodological issues, HCV prevalence in this population is much higher than in a non-drug using population, even though some IDUs might have inadvertently been included in the NIDU samples. These studies point to a real problem of HCV in NIDU populations, but the causal pathway to infection remains unclear.

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    ABSTRACT: Many cities around the globe have experienced substantial increases in crack cocaine use. Public health programmes have begun to address crack smoking, primarily through the distribution of safer crack use equipment, but their impacts have been limited. More comprehensive safer environmental interventions, specifically safer smoking rooms (SSR), have been implemented only in select European cities. However, none have been subjected to rigorous evaluation. This ethnographic study was undertaken at an 'unsanctioned' SSR operated by a drug user-led organization in Vancouver, Canada, to explore how this intervention shaped crack smoking practices, public crack smoking, and related harms. Ethnographic fieldwork was undertaken at this SSR from September to December 2011, and included approximately 50 hours of ethnographic observation and 23 in-depth interviews with people who smoke crack. Data were analyzed by drawing on the 'Risk Environment' framework and concepts of 'symbolic', 'everyday', and 'structural' violence. Our findings illustrate how a high demand for SSRs was driven by the need to minimize exposure to policing (structural violence), drug scene violence (everyday violence), and stigma (symbolic violence) that characterized unregulated drug use settings (e.g., public spaces). Although resource scarcity and social norms operating within the local drug scene (e.g., gendered power relations) perpetuated crack pipe-sharing within unregulated drug use settings, the SSR fostered harm reduction practices by reshaping the social-structural context of crack smoking and reduced the potential for health harms. Given the significant potential of SSRs in reducing health and social harms, there is an urgent need to scale up these interventions. Integrating SSRs into public health systems, and supplementing these interventions with health and social supports, has potential to improve the health and safety of crack-smoking populations. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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