Hazardous alcohol consumption among young adult IDU and its association with high risk behaviors. Academic Article uri icon


  • Heavy alcohol consumption has been associated with risk-taking behaviors in intravenous drug users (IDU). However, limited information exists on the relationship between alcohol use and injecting and sexual risk in young adult IDU (<30 years) who are at risk for hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV infection.We conducted a cross-sectional study of young adult IDU in San Francisco (2006-2012) who had not previously tested positive for HCV. Participants completed a structured interview and HCV testing. We examined whether hazardous drinking (Alcohol Use Disorders Test-Consumption [AUDIT-C] 3-9 for women and 4-9 for men) and probable dependent drinking (AUDIT-C 10-12) levels were associated with injecting and sexual risk behaviors and HCV status, indicated by adjusted odds ratios (AOR) in separate models controlling for potential confounders.Of the 326 participants, 139 (42.6%) were hazardous drinkers and 82 (25.2%) were probable dependent drinkers; thus over two-thirds evidenced problem drinking. Being a hazardous drinker was significantly associated with injecting drug residue from another's drug preparation equipment (AOR 1.93). Probable dependent drinking was significantly associated with sharing non-sterile drug preparation equipment (AOR 2.59), and inversely, with daily/near daily injecting (AOR 0.42). Both heavy drinking levels were associated with having ≥2 sexual partners (AOR 2.43 and 2.14). Drinking category was not associated with HCV test results.The young adult IDU reported consuming alcohol at very high levels, which was associated with some unsafe sexual and injecting behaviors. Our study demonstrates the urgent need to intervene to reduce alcohol consumption in this population.Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • January 2013