|December 5, 2003|
Treatment Admissions for Injection of Multiple Drugs: 2000
In addition to the harmful effects of drug use, injecting drugs may cause additional medical problems by introducing contaminants into the body via shared needles and a lack of sterile techniques. These problems include blood-borne infections such as HIV and hepatitis1. Injected drugs may also include additives, placing those who inject one or more drugs at additional risk.
TEDS records up to three substances of abuse and the route of administration of each substance. In 2000, there were 215,000 admissions reported to TEDS that involved injection of one or more of the three drugs reported.2 Most of these admissions (81 percent) reported injection of one drug only. However, some 42,000 (19 percent) reported injection of two or more drugs.3
The most common drugs among admissions injecting multiple drugs were heroin and cocaine. These drugs were reported by 75 percent of admissions with multiple injected drugs. Heroin and methamphetamine were reported by 7 percent of admissions injecting multiple drugs; cocaine and methamphetamine were reported by 6 percent; and other combinations were reported by 12 percent.
Table 1 shows the types of injected drugs abused by admissions injecting both primary and secondary drugs.4 Among admissions reporting injection of both primary and secondary drugs, 89 percent of those reporting heroin as the primary drug injected cocaine as the secondary drug. Among those reporting cocaine as the primary drug, 63 percent injected heroin as the secondary drug.
Admissions that reported injecting more than one drug were similar demographically to those who reported injecting only one drug. Two-thirds of both groups (about 66 percent) were male, and age distributions were similar among those reporting the injection of one drug and those reporting the injection of more than one drug.
Admissions injecting one drug and those injecting multiple drugs had similar racial distributions (Figure 1). However, types of drugs injected by admissions injecting more than one drug differed by race/ethnicity. Two thirds (65 percent) of White admissions, 94 percent of Black admissions, 90 percent of Hispanic admissions, 54 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native admissions, and 82 percent of Asian admissions injecting more than one drug reported heroin and cocaine (Figure 2). Among all racial/ethnic groups, the other drugs most frequently reported were cocaine and stimulants as well as heroin and stimulants.
The sources of referral to substance abuse treatment were similar regardless of the number of drugs injected. About 56 percent of multiple injectors and of single-drug injectors entered treatment through self-referral, about 17 percent of each group were referred by the criminal justice system, and 12 percent of each group were referred by substance abuse providers.
Regardless of the number of drugs injected, most admissions had been in treatment prior to the current treatment episode (77 percent of multiple injectors, and 75 percent of single-drug injectors, respectively).
Type of Service
Admissions who reported injection of more than one drug were somewhat less likely to enter detoxification than were admissions who reported injection of one drug only (34 percent and 41 percent, respectively). Conversely, admissions who reported injection of more than one drug were more likely to enter outpatient treatment (45 percent vs. 42 percent) or residential treatment (20 percent vs. 17 percent) than those who injected only one drug.
Methadone Use in Treatment
Admissions reporting the injection of heroin and cocaine were more likely to have their treatment plan include methadone (40 percent) than those who reported the injection of heroin and methamphetamine (26 percent).
1Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2001, May 18). Public health and injection drug use [Electronic version]. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 50 (19), 377.
2 For a previous report on injecting drugs, see Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. The DASIS report: Treatment admissions for injection drug abuse. Rockville, MD. June 21, 2002.
3TEDS records only the information that a particular drug was abused by injection. It does not record whether two injected drugs were abused simultaneously or on separate occasions.
4 The primary substance of abuse is the main substance abused at the time of admission.
*This table contains the 80 percent of the 42,000 multiple injected drug admissions who reported their injected drugs as "primary" and "secondary."
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