• Home
  • News
  • How are people assisted with their first injecting experience, and what information do they receive prior? A review of the literature suggests that peer workforces should be expanded and receive more support

How are people assisted with their first injecting experience, and what information do they receive prior? A review of the literature suggests that peer workforces should be expanded and receive more support

Apr 8, 2022

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) and the Australia Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) have published an article titled “How are people assisted with their first injecting experience, and what information do they receive prior? A review of the literature suggests that peer workforces should be expanded and receive more support.” This could contribute to improved health literacy and outcomes for first time injecting populations and include efforts in reducing Hepatitis C transmission in this priority group.

Research shows that most people who inject (74%-100%) report receiving assistance (i.e., help or guidance) the first time they inject drugs, mainly from friends, family and intimate partners. The main factors associated with providing assistance were: being male; having injected others (at times other than at first injection); sharing syringes and injecting equipment; having a longer injecting history; and injecting more frequently.  There is very little research which examines whether people seek out or receive health information prior to their first occasion of injecting. 

The research that does exist suggests that people who have recently started injecting, or who are at risk of injecting, are mostly aware that HIV and blood borne viruses can be contracted from sharing needles. However, more detailed knowledge regarding transmission routes, acute and chronic effects, and testing and treatment options is poor.  This more detailed knowledge appears to be gradually built up after the transition to injecting has already occurred. Knowledge regarding overdose, risk of injecting related injuries, and other safe injecting practices (e.g., use of filters, swabs) prior to first injection is unknown.

The article suggests peers have a crucial role in reaching the target population to ensure provision of accurate information regarding safer injecting and BBV transmission. Furthermore, the peer educator workforce should be expanded, to embrace the capacities and expertise of people who inject drugs. 

Go to How are people assisted with their first injecting experience, and what information do they receive prior? A review of the literature suggests that peer workforces should be expanded and receive more support.”