Analysis and sociodemographic characterisation of drug users in the context of harm reduction intervention in the North Region of Portugal
Several international organizations highlight in their reports the importance of the commitment of national governments to reduce both damage and death associated to psychoactive drug consumption. These same reports similarly highlight the need to further characterize drug users, in particular regarding risk factors associated to acute overdose events related to opioids use and to infectious diseases as HIV, HCV, etc
Portuguese public policies on drug use become now been giving priority to the need to understand overdose victims and to the implementation of overdose prevention programs or -the consumption rooms and the injection process. In fact, these programs of prevention and intervention have been relegated to second plan when compared to other concerns such as the prevalence of HIV and Hepatitis C infection among drug users.
There is a gap of knowledge and action to address the challenges of overdose events among drug user populations such as there is a gap of the challenge of meet and intervene in the risk determinants for infections for sharing injection material, for infectious diseases, etc.
In the current work, we aim to contribute to the characterization of the population of users intervened by the street teams of the North Region, regarding- risk factors associated to overdose events along the users lifespan- risk factors associated to infectious diseases- risk factors for sharing injection material.
To achieve this objective, we performed an exploratory study based on the record sheets of drug users and analyzed
1) socio-demographic variables including gender, age, nationality, home address, marital status, financial support, professional situation;
2) drug use history, such as overdose and rehabilitation events; Infections disease, etc
We conclude that the risk factors are present among the whole population studied. However, they are more evident in individuals that have reported a large carrier of drug consumption and infectious diseases.