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    People who inject drugs (PWID) are at increased risk for numerous negative health outcomes. Subcutaneous injections (aka skin popping) can result in greater risk of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs), but less is known about PWID who choose this route of administration. This study compares subcutaneous injectors to intravenous injectors, characterizes those who inject subcutaneously, and examines whether subcutaneous injection is associated with SSTIs in the past year. A cohort of hospitalized PWID (n = 252) were interviewed regarding injection-related behaviors, history of SSTI, and knowledge of subcutaneous injection risk. We examined differences between those who do and do not inject subcutaneously and used a negative binomial regression model to estimate adjusted odds associating subcutaneous injection and SSTI. Participants averaged 38 years, with 58.3% male, 59.5% White, 20.6% Black, and 15.9% Latinx. PWID who performed subcutaneous injection were not demographically different from other PWID; however, the mean rate of past year SSTIs was higher for persons injecting subcutaneously than for those who did not (1.98 vs 0.96, P < 0.001). Persons injecting subcutaneously did not differ from those who injected intravenously in terms of their knowledge of subcutaneous injection risk (P = 0.112) and knowledge score was not associated with SSTIs (P = 0.457). PWID who perform subcutaneous injections are demographically similar to other PWID but had higher rates of past year SSTIs. Knowledge of subcutaneous injection risk was not associated with SSTI risk. Copyright © 2021 American Society of Addiction Medicine.


    Christina E Freibott, Kristina T Phillips, Bradley J Anderson, Catherine Stewart, Jane M Liebschutz, Michael D Stein. Under the Skin: The Relationship Between Subcutaneous Injection and Skin Infections Among People Who Inject Drugs. Journal of addiction medicine. 2021 Apr 02

    PMID: 33813580

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