Recent fentanyl use among people who inject drugs: Results from a rapid assessment in Baltimore, Maryland

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5 Scopus citations


Background: Fentanyl-related mortality continues to increase in the US, but knowledge of the drivers of fentanyl use (both intentional and unintentional) remains limited. We conducted a rapid assessment to characterize knowledge, attitudes and practices related to fentanyl use in a community-based cohort of current and former people who inject drugs (PWID) in Baltimore, Maryland. Methods: Between November 2017 and June 2018, participants of the AIDS Linked to the IntraVenous Experience (ALIVE) cohort completed a survey related to fentanyl use. Correlates of recent (past 6 months) fentanyl use and preference for fentanyl-contaminated and -substituted heroin (FASH) were examined using logistic regression among persons who reported using drugs in the prior six months. Results: Of 994 participants, 28% reported ever having used fentanyl, with 58% of those reporting recent use. Independent correlates of recent fentanyl use among the subset of participants reporting recent (past 6 month) drug use were younger age, male sex, homelessness, opioid use, cocaine use, and daily injection (p < 0.05 for all). 18% of those who recently used fentanyl reported preference for FASH, which was associated with younger age, homelessness and daily injection (p < 0.05 for all). Conclusions: Recent fentanyl use was commonly reported. Interventions to reduce the harms associated with fentanyl use should target young, homeless PWID who may be more likely to seek out fentanyl.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Fentanyl
  • Harm reduction
  • Heroin
  • Opioid overdose
  • PWID

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy


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