This paper explores differences between two types of illicit drug users (heroin users and non-heroin users) in relation to injecting risk behaviours, self-reported mental health, driving and crime.
- Participants were divided into two groups based on recent heroin use: heroin versus non-heroin.
- Both groups were aged around 40yrs, mainly male, single and unemployed.
- Recent ice/crystal was significantly higher in the heroin group. While recent speed and base use was significantly higher in the non-heroin group.
- One-fifth of the heroin group and one-tenth of the non-heroin group reported the recent use of cocaine.
- Cannabis use was common among both groups on a near-daily basis.
- The heroin group reported a significantly higher use of benzodiazepines, methadone, buprenorphine, buprenorphine-naloxone and oxycodone in the last six months. The non-heroin group reported a significantly higher recent use of morphine.
- The heroin group were significantly more likely to report borrowing and lending a needle and reusing their own needle in the last month.
- Around two-thirds of both groups had experienced an injection-related health problem in the month preceding interview.
- Nearly half of both groups self-reported a mental health problem in the last six months, mainly depression and anxiety.
- Of those who reported recently driving, one-fifth in both groups drove while under the influence of alcohol. While nearly all reported driving while under the influence of an illicit drug, mainly cannabis.
- The heroin group were significantly more likely to report a criminal activity in the last month, mainly drug dealing and property crime.
- Over one-third of both groups had been arrested in the last 12 months, mainly for property crime and use/possession of drugs.