By: Kat Humphries
March 14, 2019
There is a common misconception that people who inject drugs (PWID) don’t care about their health. However, their widespread participation in syringe access (needle exchange) and other available health services suggests otherwise. Stigma, complex involvement in shared experiences around substance use disorder, and moral investment in a patient’s substance use nevertheless frequently act as barriers to PWID accessing healthcare.
When someone breaks their skin multiple times a day or week to inject drugs, they face unique risk for contracting blood-borne pathogens and developing soft tissue and bacterial infections, meaning they frequently need more medical attention than their non-injecting counterparts.
With that in mind, the tenuous relationship between healthcare providers and PWID is harming people at alarming rates—through factors such as lack of access to MAT and lack of care for blood-borne diseases, as well as injection-related infections.