UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Associations Between Childhood Trauma and Non-Fatal Overdose Among People Who Inject Drugs Lake, Stephanie Louise; Hayashi, Kanna; Milloy, M-J; Wood, Evan; Dong, Huiru; Montaner, Julio; Kerr, Thomas


Introduction Although people who inject drugs (IDU) remain at a high risk of accidental overdose, interventions that address overdose remain limited. Accordingly there is a continuing need to identify psychological and social factors that shape overdose risk. Despite being reported frequently among IDU, childhood trauma has received little attention as a potential risk factor for overdose. This study aims to evaluate relationships between non-fatal overdose and five forms of childhood maltreatment among a cohort of IDU in Vancouver, Canada. Methods Data was obtained from two prospective cohorts of IDU between December 2005 and May 2013. Multivariate generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to explore relationships between five forms of childhood trauma and non-fatal overdose, adjusting for potential confounders. Results During the study period, 1697 IDU, including 552 (32.5%) women, were followed. At baseline, 1136 (67.0%) participants reported at least one form of childhood trauma, while 4–9% reported a non-fatal overdose at each semi-annual follow-up. In multivariate analyses, physical [adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 1.36, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.08–1.71], sexual (AOR: 1.48, CI: 1.17–1.87), and emotional abuse (AOR: 1.54, CI: 1.22–1.93) and physical neglect (AOR: 1.28, CI: 1.01–1.62) were independently associated with non-fatal overdose (all p < 0.05). Conclusions Childhood trauma was common among participants, and reporting an experience of trauma was positively associated with non-fatal overdose. These findings highlight the need to provide intensive overdose prevention to trauma survivors and to incorporate screening for childhood trauma into health and social programs tailored to IDU.

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