Injecting alone among young adult IDUs in five US cities: Evidence of low rates of injection risk behavior

Holly Hagan, Jennifer V. Campbell, Hanne Thiede, Steffanie A. Strathdee, Lawrence Ouellet, Mary Latka, Sharon Hudson, Richard S. Garfein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Illicit drug injection typically occurs in private or semi-public settings where two or more injectors are present. In a large sample of young adult injectors (aged 15-30) in five US cities, we describe those who reported consistently injecting by themselves in a recent period. Among 3199 eligible subjects, 85% were male, median age was 24 years, and median number of years injecting was four. Fifteen percent (n = 467) who reported always injecting alone in the previous 3 months were compared to other IDUs to understand the relationship between this practice and injection risk behavior. IDUs who reported injecting alone were substantially less likely to report injection with a syringe (AOR = 0.16, 95% CI 0.1-0.2) or other drug preparation equipment (AOR = 0.17, 95% CI 0.13-0.2) previously used by another injector. Markedly low rates of injection risk behavior were observed in IDUs who reported injecting alone; this practice may facilitate safe injection by granting the individual greater control over the injection setting. However, risks may include accidental overdose with severe consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S48-S55
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • HCV
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis
  • Injection drug use
  • Policy
  • Prevention
  • Risk behavior
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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