Nonfatal overdose among heroin users in southwestern China

Lu Yin, Guangming Qin, Yuhua Ruan, Han Zhu Qian, Chun Hao, Lianzhi Xie, Kanglin Chen, Yafeng Zhang, Yaowen Xia, Junlin Wu, Shenghan Lai, Yiming Shao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of and risk factors for nonfatal overdose among heroin users in southwestern China. Methods: In 2005, 731 heroin users in Sichuan Province, China were interviewed for overdose experiences in the past 12 months. Factors hypothesized to be associated with overdose were evaluated with logistic regression models. Results: Eighty-eight (12%) drug users experienced at least one overdose, with a range from 1 to 20; 45 (51%) experienced 2 or more overdoses. Over half of participants with experience of overdose were recently released from prison (52%), and 56% used benzodiazepines before overdose. Longer methadone treatment in the past year (≥180 vs. 0 days; OR,.3; 95% CI,.1-.8; P = .02), longer duration of using drugs (≥7 vs. <7 years; OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.3-3.6; P = .002), and more frequency of injecting drugs in the past 3 months (≥7 vs. <7 times/week; OR, 5.4; 95% CI, 3.2-9.0; P < .001) were independently associated with increased risk of nonfatal heroin overdose. Conclusions: Nonfatal heroin overdoses are common among Chinese heroin users. Drug users should be encouraged to participate and remain in methadone treatment to prevent overdose and be educated about proper response to overdose to reduce risk of overdose death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-516
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Heroin user
  • Methadone
  • Nonfatal overdose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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