005INJECTION CESSATION AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE WHO USE ILLICIT DRUGS IN VANCOUVER, BC: EXPLORING SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

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Abstract

Injection drug use is associated with increased risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) infection, and overdose, with higher rates of harms observed among young injection drug users (IDU). Supporting injection cessation is a public health priority, with potential to improve the health of young people and reduce infectious disease risks. This study is a qualitative sub-study of the At-Risk Youth Study (ARYS) and utilizes a risk environment framework to explore factors influencing injection drug cessation and relapse among young people (≤29 years), who reported at least one 6-month period where they did not inject drugs. To date, a total of 13 in-depth interviews have been conducted and transcribed verbatim. Data was coded and analyzed thematically using a grounded theory approach to identify social factors shaping episodes of injection cessation. Preliminary results show methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) to be a key support in facilitating injection cessation, especially among opiate users. Access to support services, such as addiction and housing services were also influential in producing injection cessation episodes among youth. Harm reduction services, including MMT, should be offered to young IDUs. Also, additional research should be conducted to provide generalizability of the results among this population.

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