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Self-reported and observed heroin overdoses in Malmoe (2007)

Self-reported and observed heroin overdoses in Malmoe (2007)

  1. Jatelka
    Journal of Substance Use, April 2007; 12(2): 119–126

    LOUISE BRADVIK, PER HULENVIK, ARNE FRANK,
    ALVARO MEDVEDEO, & MATS BERGLUND

    Abstract
    Object: The aim of the present study was to investigate the pattern of non-fatal heroin overdoses for men and women in Sweden, a country with late onset of heroin use. Material: Subjects were recruited through the Syringe Programme and the Addiction Centre in Malmoe. A total of 149 subjects were interviewed, 108 men and 41 women. They were asked about their social situation, experienced and observed overdoses and circumstances around them. Results: Overdoses were very common; 74% of the subjects had experienced at least one overdose. Almost all, 96%, had observed at least one overdose in others and 32% had witnessed a fatal overdose. Actions taken were often insufficient. A combination with other drugs, mainly benzodiazepine and alcohol and/or a lowered tolerance for heroin after visits in institutions contributed to the overdose in a majority of the cases. Men and women differed in that men used concomitant drugs more often and women more often took heroin alone. Conclusion: Self-reported and observed non-fatal heroin overdoses were more common than expected. Contributing factors were found in the majority of the cases. Pure overdoses were more common in women.