Author(s): Gjersing L, BrettevilleJensen AL
Abstract Share this page
Abstract BACKGROUND: Injecting drug users (IDUs) are at risk of premature mortality. This study examined gender differences in mortality, risk factors, and causes of death among IDUs. METHODS: In a 13-year cohort study including 172 street-recruited IDUs from Oslo, Norway in 1997, interview data was merged with the National Cause of Death Registry. Crude mortality rate (CMR) and indirect standardized mortality ratio (SMR) were estimated with 95\% confidence intervals (CI). A log-logistic multivariate survival analysis model was estimated for the full sample. For a smaller data set (1.1.1998-31.12.2004) the influence of substitution treatment and prison were assessed using cox regression survival analysis. RESULTS: Eight females and 37 males died. Acute intoxications were the most common cause of death. Women were more at risk in the short-term, but more protected in the long-term. CMR was 16.0 [95\% CI 8.0, 31.9] for women and 26.0 [95\% CI 18.0, 35.8]) for men. SMR was 39.4 [95\% CI 0.2, 220.8]) for women and 21.3 [95\% CI 5.7, 54.1] for men. More women injected heroin (98\% vs. 88\% [x2 = 3.5, p = 0.063]), used prescription drugs (73\% vs. 52\% [x2 = 5.6, p = 0.018]) and combined these to inject (45\% vs. 26\% [x2 = 5.9, p = 0.015]). Mixing prescription drugs in heroin injections, and sex work (only women) were associated with decreased survival time. There were no gender differences in access to substitution treatment, while significantly more men had been in prison (74\% vs. 51\% [x2 = 7.5, p = 0.006]). The instance of substitution treatment and prison significantly decreased the mortality risk. Prison release increased the risk, but not statistically significantly. CONCLUSIONS: There were gender differences in mortality and risk factors; sex work and prison were gender specific risk factors. These factors should be investigated further to better design future preventive measures.
This article was published in BMC Public Health
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy