Self-management of injection-related wounds among injecting drug users

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Addictive Diseases


Volume 28, Issue 1

Inclusive Pages



Needlestick Injuries--psychology; Needlestick Injuries--therapy; Self Care--methods; Wound Infection--psychology; Wound Infection--therapy; Substance Abuse


Injection-related wounds are an important complication of injection drug use. This study describes behaviors related to self-management of injection-related wounds and identifies factors associated with behaviors that may increase the potential for harm. We conducted interviews with 101 injecting drug users in Washington, DC. A total of 82 (81.2%) injecting drug users reported ever having an injection-related wound, and of these 93.9% reported self-management of their wounds. The most commonly reported behaviors were cleaning and applying ointment to wounds; however, several participants engaged in behaviors determined to be more potentially harmful, including acquiring antibiotics without prescriptions and manipulating their wounds. In multivariate analysis, injecting drug users who had ever injected amphetamines were more likely to engage in potentially harmful self-management behaviors (adjusted odds ratio = 4.38; 95% confidence interval = 1.15-16.64). Self-management of injection-related wounds is common and certain behaviors may increase the potential for harm. Further research is needed to best focus efforts to improve wound care for injecting drug users


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Open Access