'Shotgunning' as an illicit drug smoking practice

David C. Perlman, Mary Patricia Perkins, Denise Paone, Lee Kochems, Nadim Salomon, Patricia Friedmann, Don C. Des Jarlais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There has been a rise in illicit drug smoking in the United States. 'Shotgunning' drugs (or 'doing a shotgun') refers to the practice of inhaling smoke and then exhaling it into another individual's mouth, a practice with the potential for the efficient transmission of respiratory pathogens. Three hundred fifty-four drug users (239 from a syringe exchange and 115 from a drug detoxification program) were interviewed about shotgunning and screened for tuberculosis (TB). Fifty-nine (17%; 95% CI 12.9%-20.9%) reported shotgunning while smoking crack cocaine (68%), marijuana (41%), or heroin (2%). In multivariate analysis, age ≤35 years (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.05-3.9), white race (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.2-4.8), drinking alcohol to intoxication (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.1-4.3), having engaged in high-risk sex (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.04- 6.7), and crack use (OR 6.0, 95% CI 3.0-12) were independently associated with shotgunning. Shotgunning is a frequent drug smoking practice with the potential to transmit respiratory pathogens, underscoring the need for education of drug users about the risks o f specific drug use practices, and the ongoing need for TB control among active drug users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997


  • Crack cocaine
  • Drug smoking
  • Substance abuse
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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