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Assessment of Retrospective and Current Substance Use in Women Who Inject Drugs in Low-Income Urban Settings in Kenya | Abstract
Journal of Alcoholism & Drug Dependence

Journal of Alcoholism & Drug Dependence
Open Access

ISSN: 2329-6488

Abstract

Assessment of Retrospective and Current Substance Use in Women Who Inject Drugs in Low-Income Urban Settings in Kenya

Catherine Mwangi, Simon Karanja, John Gachohi, Violet Wanjihia and Zipporah Ng’ang’a

Women who inject drugs (WWIDs) continue to experience challenges that accumulate their risk to HIV transmission and other co-morbidities. However, data that conceptually link diverse substance use dimensions in WWIDs are lacking particularly in developing countries. We assessed retrospective and current substance use among 306 WWIDs in low-income urban settings in Kenya using mixed methods. Descriptive analyses were performed on quantitative data while qualitative narratives revealed insights from quantitative findings. The mean age of the study participants was 17 (range 11, 30) years. Out of the 306 WWIDs 57% commenced with substance use by combining both licit and illicit drugs. Intimate sexual partners including spouses and casual sex partners introduced seventy-four percent of WWIDs to substance use. Majority of the WWIDs (39.9%) commenced with 2- way substance combination with bhang and cigarette having the highest usage. However, 4-way substance combinations containing heroin, cigarette, bhang, valium, Rohypnol had the highest frequency (12.8%) at the time of the survey. Varied routes of heroin administration were mentioned including injection, smoking and sniffing as separate routes and as 2-way or 3-way mode combinations of these. To inform policies targeting the health and rights of girls and women in low income settings, this study recommends urgent upstream policies targeting the girl adolescent life in form of a multifunctional package composed of identifying girls at risk, substance use interventions, sexual health education, improved educational attainment, and progressive social policies that target low social economic status in the adolescent phase. Harm reduction programs in Kenya should target people who use heroin through both injection and non-injection modes of administration.

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