Harm reduction strategies related to dosing and their relation to harms among festival attendees who use multiple drugs
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© 2018 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs Introduction and Aims: Polysubstance users are a high-risk population for negative health-related consequences. Although some studies have described harm reduction strategies adopted by polysubstance users, studies have not examined their effectiveness in minimising health-related consequences. We aimed to identify dosing-related harm reduction strategies in a sample of polysubstance-using dance festival attendees, and explore the relationship between harm reduction strategies and self-reported adverse health consequences. Design and Methods: Data were examined for 1226 past-year dance festival attendees who self-identified as past-year multiple drug users. We conducted bivariable and multivariable analyses to explore relationships between six dosing-related harm reduction strategies and 13 self-reported adverse consequences. Results: Self-reported use of dosing-related harm reduction strategies was prevalent, mainly avoidance of mixing depressants (69.2%) and setting limits on quantity (62.2%). Frequent users of harm reduction strategies reported experiencing fewer adverse health consequences (P values < 0.05). Those who reportedly set limits on quantity were at decreased odds of experiencing a bad mood after drug use, sexual difficulties while under drug influence, injuries or fractures while under drug influence, and involvement in fights or being attacked while under drug influence (P values < 0.05). Moreover, those who report frequently avoid mixing depressants were at decreased odds of experiencing headache, loss of consciousness, drop in blood pressure, injuries of fractures, and fights or attacks (P values < 0.05). Discussion and Conclusions: Adoption of dosing-related harm reduction strategies appears to be associated with less drug-related harm among polysubstance-using festival attendees. Findings may inform organisations and policymakers in the designing of harm reduction interventions with this population.
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