Self-report among injecting drug users: a review

Drug Alcohol Depend. 1998 Aug 1;51(3):253-63; discussion 267-8. doi: 10.1016/s0376-8716(98)00028-3.


The use of behavioural self-reports of drug users is widespread among studies of illicit drug use. Despite widespread use, concerns about the accuracy of these reports continue to be raised. The current paper critically reviews the literature on the reliability and validity of self-reported drug use, criminality and HIV risk-taking among injecting drug users. The literature shows respectable reliability and validity of self-reported behaviours when compared to biomarkers, criminal records and collateral interviews. It concludes that the self-reports of drug users are sufficiently reliable and valid to provide descriptions of drug use, drug-related problems and the natural history of drug use.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Crime / psychology
  • Crime / statistics & numerical data
  • Data Collection / statistics & numerical data
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Humans
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / epidemiology*
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / psychology
  • Truth Disclosure*