Heroin remains drug of choice for half of IDRS sample, with 60% having used heroin in the previous six months. Use varies across jurisdictions with highest use in New South Wales and Victoria and lowest use in the Northern Territory and Tasmania.
Those who had recently used heroin were significantly more likely than those who had not to be male, to have begun injecting earlier, to have a longer injecting history, to be in treatment, to have a prison history, to inject at least daily in the previous month, to have very high psychological distress levels, and to have riskier injecting practices.
Sixty eight participants had overdosed on heroin in the past 12 months and most had experienced previous multiple overdoses.
Although heroin use may be declining (AIHW 2014), risk factors associated with use may have a high negative impact. These findings highlight the need for maintaining focused harm minimisation measures.
Fairlie McIlwraith, Sophie Hickey, Rosa Alati