Pubdate: Tue, 22 Feb 2000
Source: Irish Times, The (Ireland)
Copyright: 2000 The Irish Times
Contact:  11-15 D'Olier St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Fax: + 353 1 671 9407
Author: Kitty Holland


Younger heroin addicts are more likely to take risks with drugs, while
women are more likely both to take risks and engage in risky sexual
behaviour than their older and male counterparts, the report also found. Of
the 1,137 clients surveyed by the Merchant's Quay needle exchange programme
for its evaluation report, Making Contact, those who reported sharing
needles were on average 22.4 years of age, compared with non-borrowing
addicts who were on average 24 years.

The report also found that "female clients were significantly more likely
to report sharing injecting equipment with their sexual partner" than were
the men. Some 37 per cent of women said they shared IV equipment compared
with 13 per cent of the men. Women (63 per cent) were also more likely to
share injecting paraphernalia such as spoons and filters than men (53 per

While no significant difference was found between male and female clients
on having a regular sexual partner, women (68 per cent) were "significantly
more likely than their male (24 per cent) counterparts" to have a partner
who was injecting regularly. Further, 41 per cent of women said they never
used a condom compared with 34 per cent of men.

More men than women had had vaccinations against disease associated with
intravenous drug use. Only 11 per cent of women had been vaccinated against
hepatitis B compared with 22 per cent of men.
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