Associations between injection risk and community disadvantage among suburban injection drug users in southwestern Connecticut, USA
Receipt of antibody results,Number new diagnoses
Laboratory-based antibody test
Increases in drug abuse, injection, and opioid overdoses in suburban communities led us to study injectors residing in suburban communities in southwestern Connecticut, US. We sought to understand the influence of residence on risk and injection-associated diseases. Injectors were recruited by respondent-driven sampling and interviewed about sociodemographics, somatic and mental health, injection risk, and interactions with healthcare, harm reduction, substance abuse treatment, and criminal justice systems. HIV, hepatitis B and C (HBV and HCV) serological testing was also conducted. Our sample was consistent in geographic distribution and age to the general population and to the patterns of heroin-associated overdose deaths in the suburban towns. High rates of interaction with drug abuse treatment and criminal justice systems contrasted with scant use of harm reduction services. The only factors associated with both dependent variables-residence in less disadvantaged census tracts and more injection risk-were younger age and injecting in one's own residence. This contrasts with the common association among urban injectors of injection-associated risk behaviors and residence in disadvantaged communities. Poor social support and moderate/severe depression were associated with risky injection practices (but not residence in specific classes of census tracts), suggesting that a region-wide dual diagnosis approach to the expansion of harm reduction services could be effective at reducing the negative consequences of injection drug use.