Injection Drug Users in Contact with Syringe Exchange in the Flemish Region

"Data on injecting drug users frequenting the syringe exchange programmes located in Flanders are collected using a structured, voluntary, anonymous questionnaire since 2001 (Windelinckx 2011). Every IDU contacting one of the syringe exchange programmes is asked to fill in a questionnaire, based on the Injecting Risk Questionnaire (IRQ) (Stimson et al. 1998) and additionally containing items on health status, drug use and access to health care. From 2006 onwards, a revised and improved questionnaire is used.
"In 2010, a total of 251 IDUs participated. The age of the participants ranged from 18 to 63 years, with an average age of 34.8 years. The majority of the participants were male (76%). Almost 25% of the IDUs live in an unstable environment (homeless, squads, ...). The vast majority of the participants reported non-concurrent poly drug use (on average 4 products). Opiates (57%) were the primary injected drug of choice, followed by stimulant drugs (32%) and drug cocktails (12%). Smoking of freebase cocaine was reported by 41% of the participants. Up to 40% of the participants reported to be initiated into injecting drug use before the age of 20 years and 64% reported to be injected by someone else during first injection. The majority of the participants reported not to have shared syringes (receptive: 79%, distributive: 77%), spoons (65%), water (62%) and filters (68%) during the last month. In total, 15% of the participants reported to have had at least one drug overdose the last year and 15% was never in treatment."


Deprez, Nathalie, et al., "2011 National Report (2010 data) to the EMCDDA by the Reitox National Focal Point" (Brussels, Belgium: OD Public Health and Surveillance, Scientific Institute of Public Health, October 2011), WIV-ISP/EPI REPORTS N° 002, p. 88.