Individual and environmental factors related to quitting heroin injection

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This study examines the relationship between individual-level and the certain neighborhood characteristics with drug use cessation among a sample of long-term inner-city heroin injectors in Baltimore, Maryland. The data were derived from baseline and first follow-up visits of SHIELD, a larger HIV prevention intervention study targeting members of the drug-using community. The survey instrument was interviewer-administered and ascertained sociodemographics, drug use history, and sexual and drug risk behaviors. The data were collected between August 1997 and March 1999. The current study was limited to participants with a median age of 41 years old. 27.5% (n = 53) reported quitting drug use at follow-up. Compared with those who quit, participants who continued (n = 147) were close to five times as likely to buy drugs in the neighborhoods in which they lived, 80% less likely to have used drugs in a shooting gallery in the past 6 months, and close to five times more likely to have used drugs in outside places. Controlling for other factors, enrollment in drug user treatment programs or attending self-help groups were not significantly associated with drug use cessation. This study points to the importance of examining specific environmental factors in relation to quitting drug use. Research is needed to further articulate the types and characteristics of physical environments that are related to and could be intervened in promoting sustainable drug cessation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1199-1214
Number of pages16
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2004


  • Drug availability
  • Injection drug users
  • Neighborhood factors
  • Quitting drug use
  • Shooting galleries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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