Effects of drug treatment for heroin sniffers: A protective factor against moving to injection?

Margaret S. Kelley, Dale D. Chitwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We explore the relationship between contact with treatment and transition to injection for heroin sniffers. Our primary research question is, does contact with treatment delay onset of injection for heroin sniffers? A stratified network-based sample was recruited from multiple communities in South Florida which were known for high drug use. Three categories of respondents were recruited based on injection outcome: long-term injectors, short-term injectors, and sniffers (n=900). We answer our research question in two steps. First, we investigate the prevalence of drug treatment for heroin sniffers and injectors using case-control methods. The preliminary findings indicate a positive relationship between contact with treatment and injection status outcome. Second, we further examine the relationship by attempting to identify the causal factors that delay initial injection for a subgroup of current injectors using survival regression procedures. Delaying or preventing transition to injection could significantly decrease risk of HIV transmission by reducing or eliminating risky injecting behaviors. We conclude with a discussion of policy implications and suggestions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2083-2092
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug treatment
  • Heroin
  • Heroin sniffers
  • Transition to injection
  • USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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