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Overdoses among cocaine users in Brazil

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Aims. A survey of cocaine users was undertaken to study (i) the frequency of reported drug overdoses among cocaine users; and (ii) the frequency of witnessing drug overdoses in the same population.

Design and setting. A cross-sectional study as part of the World Health Organization (WHO) Multi-city Study among injecting drug users (IDUs), phase II, was conducted in Santos Metropolitan Region, State of São Paulo, Brazil, in 1999.

Participants. Three hundred and ninety-six exclusive users of cocaine in the Santos Metropolitan Region, São Paulo State, Brazil were surveyed concerning their past experience with drug overdoses.

Findings. Eighty (20%) of the cocaine users reported having experienced one or more overdoses, and 50% reported that they knew one or more other cocaine users who had died of an overdose. On multivariate analysis, being female and having spent time in jail were associated with an increased likelihood of having had one or more overdoses.

Conclusion. Cocaine overdoses are an important and under-recognized health problem in the Santos Metropolitan Region, and possibly in other areas of Brazil.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Instituto de Estudos e Pesquisas em AIDS de Santos (IEPAS) & Faculdade de Saúde Pública da USP, Brazil 2: University of California, San Francisco, USA 3: University of California, Berkeley, USA 4: Instituto de Estudos e Pesquisas em AIDS de Santos (IEPAS) & Secretaria da Saúde de São Vicente, Brazil 5: Instituto de Estudos e Pesquisas em AIDS de Santos (IEPAS), Brazil

Publication date: 2001-12-01

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