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J Aging Health. 2011 Sep;23(6):912-32. doi: 10.1177/0898264311401389. Epub 2011 Mar 30.

Health consequences of long-term injection heroin use among aging Mexican American men.

Author information

  • 1University of Houston, TX, USA. LRTorres@uh.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Research on the health consequences of long-term injection drug use (IDU) is limited. This article examines these consequences among aging, male Mexican American injecting heroin users. Concern for this group is crucial, given its health disparities and the association of IDU with disease transmission.

METHOD:

Aging, male Mexican American IDUs (N = 227) were recruited through intensive outreach. Participants self-reported health status, medical and substance use history, and completed behavioral and psychometric health scales.

RESULTS:

Results: Participants had significantly poorer self-rated health and negative health conditions. Selected medical conditions not associated with the heroin-use lifestyle (i.e., hypertension, diabetes, arthritis) were lower relative to the comparison samples.

DISCUSSION:

This population has a complex profile of health consequences linked to a heroin-using lifestyle. The study concludes that routine screening of infectious diseases and medical and behavioral conditions among aging substance using populations may contribute to reducing Hispanic health disparities.

PMID:
21451118
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3339484
Free PMC Article
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