IDRS Drug Trends Bulletin July 2017: Is the wellbeing of people who inject drugs worse for those who use methamphetamines rather than heroin?

image - IDRS Web
Author: Caroline Salom, Rosa Alati

Resource Type: Drug Trends Bulletins

The harms associated with injection of opioids are well documented, but few reports consider the differences in health experienced by those who also inject crystal methamphetamine or ice. Anecdotal reports describe exacerbation of health problems for people who regularly use methamphetamines, and despite the emergence of specific treatments for methamphetamine use, engaging this group of people who inject drugs is challenging.

Recent Drug Trends reports have shown an increase in the proportion of participants who inject methamphetamines (commonly crystal methamphetamine). This is often linked to greater availability, with significant numbers of participants injecting mostly methamphetamines, despite a preference for heroin.

The annual Illicit Drugs Reporting system offers an opportunity to compare the harms associated with injection of methamphetamines and opioids in a large sample of regular drug users. Here we report on mental and physical health issues and justice involvement in a recent national sample of individuals who inject methamphetamines rather than opioids.