UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The influence of poly-drug use patterns on the association between opioid agonist treatment engagement and injecting initiation assistance Meyers-Pantele, Stephanie A.; Mittal, Maria L.; Jain, Sonia; Sun, Shelly; Rammohan, Indhu; Fairbairn, Nadia; Milloy, M-J; DeBeck, Kora; Hayashi, Kanna; Werb, Dan


Background Evidence suggests people who inject drugs (PWID) prescribed opioid agonist treatment (OAT) are less likely to provide injection drug use (IDU) initiation assistance. We investigated the association between OAT engagement and providing IDU initiation assistance across poly-drug use practices in Vancouver, Canada. Methods Preventing Injecting by Modifying Existing Responses (PRIMER) is a prospective study seeking to identify structural interventions that reduce IDU initiation. We employed data from linked cohorts of PWID in Vancouver and extended the findings of a latent profile analysis (LPA). Multivariable logistic regression models were performed separately for the six poly-drug use LPA classes. The outcome was recently assisting others in IDU initiation; the independent variable was recent OAT engagement. Results Among participants (n = 1218), 85 (7.0%) reported recently providing injection initiation assistance. When adjusting for age and sex, OAT engagement among those who reported a combination of high-frequency heroin and methamphetamine IDU and low-to-moderate-frequency prescription opioid IDU and methamphetamine non-injection drug use (NIDU) was associated with lower odds of IDU initiation assistance provision (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR]: 0.18, 95% CI: 0.05–0.63, P = 0.008). Significant associations were not detected among other LPA classes. Conclusions Our findings extend evidence suggesting that OAT may provide a population-level protective effect on the incidence of IDU initiation and suggest that this effect may be specific among PWID who engage in high-frequency methamphetamine and opioid use. Future research should seek to longitudinally investigate potential causal pathways explaining the association between OAT and initiation assistance provision among PWID to develop tailored intervention efforts.

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)