Frequency of injection has been consistently found to be higher among Puerto Rican injection drug users (IDUs) than among other groups of IDUs. Several explanations have been suggested, but an empirical explanation has yet to be presented. This study compares the frequency of injection of Puerto Rican IDUs in East Harlem, New York, with that of IDUs in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Study subjects comprised 521 Puerto Rican IDUs from East Harlem and 303 IDUs from Bayamon. The mean frequency of injection among IDUs in East Harlem was 2.8, the corresponding mean in Bayamon was 5.4. Younger IDUs reported a higher number of daily injection episodes than older IDUs, and the IDU group in Bayamon was 5 years younger than the group in East Harlem. The drug use variables accounted for a greater portion of the between-city difference than the demographic and psychosocial variables. Use of noninjected drugs, as well as the use of prescribed methadone, were found to be associated with a lower number of daily injections. Conversely, injection of cocaine, injection of cocaine mixed with heroin (“speedball”), and injection of larger amounts of drug solution were found to be associated with a higher number of daily injections.
Between-city variation in frequency of injection among Puerto Rican injection drug users: East Harlem, New York, and Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 27 (4), 405-413.