Smoking heroin with cannabis versus injecting heroin: unexpected impact on treatment outcomes.
Harm Reduct J. 2019 Dec 05;16(1):65
Authors: Morgan N, Daniels W, Subramaney U
BACKGROUND: In several countries, especially in Africa, the dominant method of heroin intake is smoking a joint of cannabis laced with heroin. There is no data exploring the impact of smoking heroin with cannabis on treatment outcomes.
AIM: To compare treatment outcomes between people who inject heroin and people who smoke heroin with cannabis.
METHODOLOGY: Three hundred heroin users were assessed on admission to inpatient rehabilitation and after treatment. We compared drug use, psychopathology, criminality, social functioning and general health between heroin injectors and heroin-cannabis smokers at treatment entry, and at 3 and 9 months after rehabilitation.
RESULTS: The sample comprised 211 (70.3%) heroin-cannabis smokers and 89 (29.7%) heroin injectors. Eighty-four percent were followed up at 3 months and 75% at 9 months. At 9 months, heroin-cannabis smokers had a higher proportion of those who relapsed to heroin use compared with intravenous (IV) users (p = 0.036). The median number of heroin use episodes per day was lower for IV users than heroin-cannabis smokers at both follow-up points (p = 0.013 and 0.0019). A higher proportion of IV users was HIV positive (p = 0.002). There were no significant differences in psychopathology, general health, criminality and social functioning between IV users and heroin-cannabis smokers at all three time points.
CONCLUSIONS: Heroin users who do not inject drugs but use other routes of administration may have increased risk for relapse to heroin use after inpatient rehabilitation and should therefore have equal access to harm reduction treatment services. Advocating a transition from injecting to smoking heroin in an African context may pose unique challenges.
PMID: 31805971 [PubMed – in process]
Source: ncbi 2