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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2004 Jan 7;73(1):61-7.

Social network correlates of self-reported non-fatal overdose.

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Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


The leading cause of death among heroin users is drug overdose. The present study examined the relationship between history of self-reported drug overdoses and social network characteristics among cocaine and opiate users. Data were from cross-sectional surveys administered from March 2001 through February 2003 as part of follow-up of an experimental network oriented HIV prevention intervention. A total of 838 participants with histories of cocaine and opiate use completed the survey. Several social network variables were found to be significantly associated with drug overdose in the prior 2 years, including larger number of network members who were injection drug users and a larger number of conflictual ties among the network members. Even after controlling for age, gender, frequency of injection drug and alcohol use, and health status, network variables continued to have a strong association with history of recent overdose. These data suggest that large drug networks should be targeted for drug overdose prevention interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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