A study published today in the American Journal of Public Health estimates that 1,857 people injected drugs in the last six months in Cabell County, W.Va., a rural county with a population of 94,958. This estimate is based on an innovative survey technique that public health officials can now use in their own rural communities to address the opioid epidemic.
The study was led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in collaboration with the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.
For their study, the researchers surveyed the population of people who inject drugs to understand their drug use and needs for essential public health services, including drug treatment and overdose prevention resources. Using these data, the study team was able to quantify the size and characteristics of the population of people who inject drugs. The study also found that most people who inject drugs in the county are white (83.4 percent), male (59.5 percent) and under age 40 (70.9 percent). Many reported injecting heroin (82.0 percent), crystal methamphetamine (71.0 percent) and fentanyl (56.3 percent) in the past six months.
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