Intravenous drug user

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 28 Feb 2023

Intravenous drug users (IVDU) are people who inject non-medical and controlled medical drugs (and may have substance use disorder) for non-medical purposes. Frequently injected drugs include heroin, cocaine, prescription opioids and methamphetamine 6

More neutral terms such as people who inject drugs, drug user, or people with substance use disorder (SUD) are preferred 5,6. Terms such as intravenous drug abusers, addict, junkie, etc. should not be used due to stigmatization, which affects people's willingness to seek treatment 5.

Four out five people who inject drugs are men. More than 11 million people globally are estimated to inject drugs (c.2019), most commonly in Eastern Europe, Central Asia/Transcaucasia, and North America 6.

Intravenous drug users may present due to a variety of complications 4:

Intravenous drug users are also at increased risk of disease due to often having other risk factors for disease, including long term tobacco use, chronic alcohol excess, malnutrition, poor living conditions, etc. e.g. pneumonia 2.

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