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Injection drug users have higher rates of abuse and dependence and have a greater need for substance abuse treatment compared with non-injecting drug users, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases, also found that people who inject heroin, methamphetamine or cocaine are more likely than non-injecting drug users to have other physical and psychological problems.

According to Medical News Today, the study used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The annual survey includes 70,000 youth and adults in the United States.

The survey found that injection drug users were more likely than those using drugs through other routes to be 35 and older, unemployed, have less than a high school education and live in rural areas.

“By learning more about how routes of administration are related to user characteristics, we could improve our ability to tailor substance abuse treatment and prevention strategies to individual users,” said Scott Novak, PhD, lead researcher at RTI International in Research Triangle Park, NC, in a news release. “Because injection drug users are disproportionately engaged in the criminal justice system, criminal justice diversion programs, such as Drug Courts, and treatment for incarcerated offenders should also consider the unique needs of injection drug users.”


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