Purchase and Use Patterns of Heroin Users at an Inner-city Emergency Department
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AuthorsBaumann, Brigitte M.
Chansky, Michael E.
Boudreaux, Edwin D.
UMass Chan AffiliationsDepartment of Emergency Medicine
Document TypeJournal Article
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractBACKGROUND: Many consider heroin abuse a problem of the inner city, but suburban patients may also be at risk. OBJECTIVE: To characterize the demographics and purchase/use patterns of heroin users in an inner-city emergency department (ED). METHODS: The study was conducted in one of the most impoverished and crime-ridden cities in the United States. Demographics and substance use habits of ED patients were prospectively collected. Patients who were<18 years of>age, cognitively impaired, or did not speak English were excluded. Participants were further categorized as homeless, inner-city, and suburban residents. RESULTS: Of 3947 participants, 608 (15%) used an illicit substance in the past year, with marijuana (9%) and cocaine (6%) the most commonly used. Heroin ranked third, used by 180 (5%) participants, with 61% male, 31% black, and 20% Hispanic. There were 64 homeless, 60 suburban, and 56 inner-city heroin users. The most common route of use was injection (68%), with the highest rate in the homeless (84%). The majority of homeless and inner-city users bought (73%, both groups) and used (homeless 74%, inner city 88%) in the inner city. Of suburban users, 58% purchased and 61% used heroin in the inner city. Prescription narcotic use was more common in homeless (20%) and suburban (23%) heroin users than in inner-city users (9%) (p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Heroin is the third most commonly used illicit substance by ED patients, and a significant amount of inner-city purchase and use activity is conducted by suburban heroin users.
SourceJ Emerg Med. 2010 Aug 26. Link to article on publisher's site
Permanent Link to this Itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14038/28514
Related ResourcesLink to Article in PubMed