Injecting Drug Use

Injecting drug use puts people at risk of being infected with blood borne viruses and is also associated with risk of bacterial infection at the site of injecting or in the bloodstream ref=23517. People who inject drugs also have a higher chance of overdose than those who take drugs orally because a large quantity of the drug reaches the brain very quickly.

One strategy for reducing the harm caused by illicit drug use includes needle syringe programs (NSPs) ref=33425. These aim to reduce the spread of blood borne viruses (like hepatitis C, B and HIV)and other harms associated with injecting drug use by educating users about safer injecting practices and providing clean needles. In addition to NSPs, other strategies to reduce harms from injecting drug use include: supervised injecting facilities, overdose education and naloxone distribution programs, and opioid treatment programs which help people to control or cut down their use ref=34324.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who use drugs are more likely than non Indigenous people to be exposed to situations that put them at risk of unsafe injecting practices, such as group settings where people are sharing needles or prison where clean needles are not available ref=34107 ref=31149. They are also less likely to seek help and support. Barriers to seeking help and support include the shame and stigma associated with injecting drug use, difficulty getting to support services due to lack of transport, living in areas where they are no NSPs as well as a range of other social factors which make accessing services more difficult ref=34361 ref=23503.

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