Do Young Heroin Users in Madrid, Barcelona and Seville have Sufficient Knowledge of the Risk Factors for Unintentional Opioid Overdose?
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- Neira-León, M., Barrio, G., Brugal, M.T. et al. JURH (2006) 83: 477. doi:10.1007/s11524-006-9054-5
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To identify the self-perceived reasons for unintentional opioid overdose of young heroin users in three Spanish cities and their agreement with objective risk factors for overdose. Computer-Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI) were held with 991 street-recruited current heroin users aged 18–30. The general reasons for overdose and the reasons for the last overdose suffered were explored with open-ended (OEQs) and pre-coded questions (PCQs). Limited knowledge of overdose risk factors was defined as mention of fewer than two objective risk factors for unintentional overdose in the OEQ. Univariate, bivariate, and logistic regression methods were used. 77.8% (Seville), 64.9% (Madrid) and 57.2% (Barcelona) of participants have limited knowledge of overdose risk factors. Residence in Seville and not having attended courses or meetings on overdoses were significantly associated with limited knowledge, after adjusting for other factors. The most frequently identified general reasons in OEQ or PCQ were using heroin in large amounts (66.8%), together with tranquilizers (62.0%), adulterated (60.7%), or purer than usual (57.6%). Most reasons were selected more frequently in PCQ than in OEQ, especially rapid injection of the entire dose and using heroin shortly after using tranquilizers or alcohol, by injection, or after a period of abstinence. The results were similar for overdoses suffered by participants. Most young heroin users do not have sufficient knowledge of overdose risk factors, especially the use of heroin by injection, after a period of abstinence, or together with alcohol or methadone. Specific informational or educational programs adapted to the local context are critically needed.