Public Policy, School of

Receive updates for this collection

Unsafe Sexual Behaviour Associated with Hazardous Alcohol Use Among Street-Involved Youth

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-04
Abstract: 

While risky sexual behaviours related to illicit drug use among street youth have been explored, the impacts of alcohol use have received less attention. This longitudinal study examined hazardous alcohol use among a population of street-involved youth, with particular attention to sexual and drug-related risk behaviours. Data were derived from the At-Risk Youth Study, a prospective cohort of street-involved youth in Vancouver, Canada. The outcome of interest was hazardous alcohol use defined by the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. We used generalized estimating equations (GEEs) analyses to identify factors associated with hazardous alcohol use. Between 2005 and 2014, 1149 drug using youth were recruited and 629 (55%) reported hazardous alcohol use in the previous 6 months during study follow-up. In multivariable GEE analyses, unprotected sex (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.28, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 1.12-1.46) and homelessness (AOR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.19-1.54) were independently associated with hazardous alcohol use (all p < .001). Older age (AOR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.92 0.99), Caucasian ethnicity (AOR = 0.74, 95% CI = 0.61-0.90), daily heroin use (AOR = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.42 0.67), daily crack cocaine smoking (AOR = 0.73, 95% CI = 0.59-0.91), and daily crystal methamphetamine use (AOR = 0.52, 95% CI = 0.42-0.64) were negatively associated with hazardous alcohol use (all p < .05). In sub-analysis, consistent dose-response patterns were observed between levels of alcohol use and unprotected sex, homelessness, and daily heroin injection. In sum, hazardous alcohol use was positively associated with unsafe sexual behaviour and negatively associated with high-intensity drug use. Interventions to address hazardous alcohol use should be central to HIV prevention efforts for street-involved youth.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Reclaiming Indigenous Identities: Culture as Strength Against Suicide Among Indigenous Youth in Canada

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-02
Abstract: 

In Canada, Indigenous youth suicide represents one of several health disparities burdening Indigenous populations, and like many other of these disparities, can be understood as an expression of societal, historical, cultural and familial trauma. As the number of Indigenous youth who take their own lives every year in Canada continues to far exceed national averages, it appears that conventional suicide prevention efforts remain ineffective among this population. A growing body of research argues that conventional interventions, largely rooted in Western individual-level behavioural change frameworks, are culturally discordant with Indigenous paradigms. In response, some Indigenous communities are turning to cultural revitalization as a holistic community-driven response to suicide prevention and treatment. The following commentary explores the emerging evidence base for "culture as treatment" - a novel approach to suicide that emphasizes the significance of interconnectedness in healing, alongside the revitalization of traditional values to reclaim community wellness. In doing so, we seek to contribute to a changing discourse surrounding Indigenous youth suicide by acknowledging culture as strength against this national crisis.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Workplace Violence among Female Sex Workers Who Use Drugs in Vancouver, Canada: Does Client Targeted Policing Increase Safety?

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-11-06
Abstract: 

Workplace violence, by clients or predators, poses serious negative health consequences for sex workers. In 2013, the Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada Police Department changed their guidelines with the goal of increasing safety for sex workers by focusing law enforcement on clients and third parties, but not sex workers. We sought to examine the trends and correlates of workplace violence among female sex workers (FSW) before and after the guideline change, using data collected from prospective cohorts of persons who use illicit drugs in Vancouver, Canada. Among 259 FSW, 21.0% reported workplace violence at least once during the study period between 2008 and 2014. There was no statistically significant change in rates of workplace violence after the guideline change. In our multivariable analysis, daily heroin use was independently associated with workplace violence. The 2013 policing guideline change did not appear to have resulted in decreased reports of workplace violence. Increased access to opioid agonist therapies may reduce workplace violence among drug-using FSW.

Document type: 
Article

Socioeconomic Factors Associated with Cessation of Injection Drug Use Among Street-Involved Youth

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-12-07
Abstract: 

Background: Although the initiation of injection drug use has been well characterized among at-risk youth, factors that support or impede cessation of injection drug use have received less attention. We sought to identify socioeconomic factors associated with cessation of injection drug use among street-involved youth

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

The Impact of Methadone Maintenance Therapy on Access to Regular Physician Care Regarding Hepatitis C Among People who Inject Drugs

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-03-26
Abstract: 

Background & aims People who inject drugs (PWID) living with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection often experience barriers to accessing HCV treatment and care. New, safer and more effective directacting antiviral-based therapies offer an opportunity to scale-up HCV-related services. Methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) programs have been shown to be effective in linking PWID to health and support services, largely in the context of HIV. The objective of the study was to examine the relationship between being enrolled in MMT and having access to regular physician care regarding HCV among HCV antibody-positive PWID in Vancouver, Canada.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Knowledge and Possession of Take Home Naloxone Kits Among Street-Involved Youth in a Canadian Setting

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-12
Abstract: 

BACKGROUND: The distribution of take-home naloxone (THN) kits has been an important strategy in reducing overdose fatalities among people who use drugs. However, little is known about the use of THN among youth who are street-involved. The present study explores knowledge and possession of THN among street-involved youth in a Canadian setting.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

HIV Serostatus and Having Access to a Physician for Regular Hepatitis C Virus Care Among People Who Inject Drugs

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-05-11
Abstract: 

Background: People who inject drugs (PWID) and who are living with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are vulnerable to a range of health-related harms, including liver cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and death. There is limited evidence describing how HIV serostatus shapes access to a physician for regular HCV care among PWID.

Document type: 
Article

Hospitalization Among Street-Involved Youth Who Use Illicit Drugs in Vancouver, Canada: A Longitudinal Analysis

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-05-10
Abstract: 

Background Street-involved youth who use illicit drugs are at high risk for health-related harms; however, the profile of youth at greatest risk of hospitalization has not been well described. We sought to characterize hospitalization among street-involved youth who use illicit drugs and identify the most frequent medical reasons for hospitalization among this population.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Patterns of Non-injection Drug Use Associated with Injection Cessation among Street-Involved Youth in Vancouver, Canada

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-01-16
Abstract: 

Although abstinence from drug use is often a key goal of youth substance use treatment, transitioning to less harmful routes and types of drug use is desirable from both a clinical and public health perspective. Despite this, little is known about the trajectories of youth who inject drugs including changes in patterns of non-injection drug use. The At-Risk Youth Study (ARYS) is a longitudinal cohort of street-involved youth who use drugs in Vancouver, Canada. We used linear growth curve modeling to compare changes in non-injection drug use among participants who ceased injecting drugs for at least one 6-month period between September 2005 and May 2015 to matched controls who continued injecting over the same period. Of 387 eligible participants, 173 (44.7%) reported ceasing drug injection at least once. Non-injection drug use occurred during 160 (79.6%) periods of injection cessation. In adjusted linear growth curve analyses, the only non-injection drug use pattern observed to decrease significantly more than controls following injection cessation was daily crack/cocaine use (p = 0.024). With the exception of frequent crack/cocaine use, transitions out of injection drug use did not appear to coincide with increased reductions in patterns of non-injection drug use. Our findings indicate that most (80%) of the observed injection cessation events occurred in the context of ongoing substance use. Given that transitioning out of drug injection represents a significant reduction in risk and harm, efforts supporting vulnerable youth to move away from injecting may benefit from approaches that allow for ongoing non-injection drug use.

 

Document type: 
Article

Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Use and Illegal Drug Use: Initiation Trajectory and Related Risks Among People Who Use Illegal Drugs in Vancouver, Canada

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-01-16
Abstract: 

Objective: We investigated the prevalence of and risk factors associated with initiating nonmedical prescription opioid use (NMPOU) before and after illegal drugs using data from two linked cohort studies of street youth and adults who use illegal drugs in Vancouver, Canada. All participants who attended a study visit between 2013-2016 were eligible for the primary analyses.

Results: Among 512 youth and 833 adult participants, the prevalence of NMPOU was extremely high (88% among street youth; 90% among adults), and over one-third of those who reported engaging in NMPOU had initiated NMPOU before illegal drug use (vs. transitioning from illegal drugs to NMPOU). Participants who reported either transitioning to or from NMPOU had higher risk profiles, particularly related to substance use, when compared with those who reported never engaging in NMPOU. Sub-analyses restricted to only those who engaged in NMPOU found few statistically significant differences between those who initiated NMPOU prior to illegal drugs versus those who initiated illegal drugs prior to NMPOU. Findings suggest that among people who use illegal drugs, early NMPOU trajectories do not appear to critically shape future patterns and practices.

Document type: 
Article