Childhood sexual abuse and age of initiation of injection drug use

OBJECTIVES: We examined the relation between childhood sexual abuse and injection drug use initiation among young adult injection drug users. METHODS: We used mixed effect linear models to compare age at first injection among 2143 young injection drug users by first sexual abuse age categories. RESULTS: The participants were predominantly male (63.3%) and White (52.8%). Mean age and age at first injection were 23.7 and 19.6 years, respectively; 307 participants (14.3%) reported childhood sexual abuse. After adjustment for gender, race/ethnicity, noninjection drug use before first injection drug use, and recruitment site, childhood sexual abuse was independently associated with younger age at first injection. CONCLUSIONS: Childhood sexual abuse was associated with earlier initiation of injection drug use. These data emphasize the need to integrate substance abuse prevention with postvictimization services for children and adolescents.

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Full citation:
Ompad DC, Ikeda RM, Shah N, Fuller CM, Bailey S, Morse E, Kerndt P, Maslow C, Wu Y, Vlahov D, Garfein R, Strathdee SA, Collaborative Injection Drug Users Study II (2005).
Childhood sexual abuse and age of initiation of injection drug use
American Journal of Public Health, 95 (4), 703-709. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2003.019372. PMCID: PMC1449244.