Aims: To document the geographical injection locations of IDU, and the factors and harms associated with injecting in public places.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting: Sydney, Australia.
Participants: Two hundred injecting drug users.
Findings: Nearly all subjects (96%) had injected in a public place, and 89% had done so in the preceding 6 months. Large proportions had injected in all locations studied, including cars (90%), public toilets (81%), the street (80%) and trains (55%). Injecting in public places also occurred frequently, with 53% of subjects having injected often in at least one public location during the preceding 6 months. Twenty-seven per cent of subjects had injected often in the street over the preceding 6 months, 22% had injected often in cars and 17% had injected often in public toilets. Frequent injectors in public places were more likely to be male, and to have overdosed in the preceding 6 months, injected significantly more drug classes in the preceding 6 months, injected in more bodily injecting sites in the preceding 6 months and had more current injection-related problems than other IDU.
Conclusions: Injecting in public places was practiced by the overwhelming majority of the sample, and a pattern of increased harm was associated with frequent public injecting. In attempting to quantify the harm associated with injecting, and to reduce such harm, the locations injections take place in are of major importance.