Heroin-gel capsule cocktails and groin injecting practices among ethnic Vietnamese in Melbourne, Australia

Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Australia.
The International journal on drug policy (Impact Factor: 3.19). 10/2008; 20(4):340-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2008.05.001
Source: PubMed


Evidence of harms associated with temazepam gel capsule injecting among injecting drug users in Australia led to its withdrawal from manufacture in Australia. Subsequently, diphenhydramine gel capsule injecting was identified among a subset of ethnic Vietnamese injecting drug users.
Observational fieldwork around an active street-based illicit drug marketplace together with targeted purposive sampling enabled 66 ethnic Vietnamese injecting drug users to be recruited for in-depth interview.
Data revealed that the injection of gel capsules increases exposure to non-viral infections. Analysis of participant interviews show how participants have established their own ways of reducing these harms including thinning the drug solution by jacking regularly during injection. Controversially, femoral vein administration of diphenhydramine-heroin cocktails was also seen as a harm reduction strategy by participants.
Health education campaigns to address the potentially negative consequences of gel capsule groin injection will not be successful unless health workers and policy makers work with drug users and incorporate local understandings and meanings of risk in health promotion activities.

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    • "The importance of early engagement with vulnerable CALD communities is best highlighted by the emergence of IDU among Southeast Asian communities in Melbourne and Sydney in the 1990s (Higgs, Maher, Jordens, Dunlop, & Sargent, 2001; Maher et al., 2001). Research identified a variety of cultural beliefs and practices that placed ethnic Vietnamese people who inject drugs (PWID) at risk of harms, particularly blood-borne virus transmission and injuries resulting from unsafe injecting practices (Higgs et al., 2009; Higgs, Owada, Hellard, Power, & Maher, 2008; Ho & Maher, 2008; Maher et al., 2001), enabling health workers to respond to their unique needs in a timely manner. Communities from Sub-Saharan Africa are among the fastest-growing migrant groups in "
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