Senior Contributor,Consumer Tech FORBES
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A new quantitative and qualitative study on fentanyl use in the Bay Area offers fresh insights on contemporary usage patterns while bringing to mind an Ancient adage: “The more you know, the more you realize you don't know.” Out now in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, it also underscores the urgency and variability of the ongoing overdose crisis, and how nations like ours must commit to understanding drug supplies, use, and users if we mean to curb historic rates of death by overdose.
Entitled “Transition from injecting opioids to smoking fentanyl in San Francisco, California,” the study sought input from hundreds of people who inject drugs (PWID) and compared their responses regarding opioid use from during the second half of 2018 to the first half of 2020, amid “the new era of fentanyl availability in San Francisco.” Researchers also conducted qualitative interviews with PWID “asking about motivations for injecting and smoking opioids.”
What they found was a significant drop in study participants’ median number of past-month injections. Numerous participants who were interviewed by researchers said (among many other noteworthy things) that this drop corresponded with an increase in non-injected fentanyl use, predominantly by smoking it. Some participants said they switched from heroin to fentanyl entirely, citing reasons such as cost, health, or social stigma (e.g. reducing visible ‘track marks’ from injections that might preclude jobs).
TO CONTINUE READING: https://www.forbes.com/sites/janetwburns/2021/09/07/study-some-fentanyl-users-in-ca-choosing-to-smoke-vs-inject-raising-lots-of-questions/?sh=2b028f6379c9