Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse
URL with Digital Object Identifier
Australian Aboriginals are overrepresented in prisons and tend to be overrepresented in studies of injecting drug users (IDU). The aim of this study was to examine differences between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal IDUs in terms of gender, prison history and hepatitis C status and testing. Secondary analyses were conducted on data from three cross-sectional studies of IDUs. These studies employed similar methodologies, with recruitment being through needle and syringe programs, methadone clinics, snowballing and street intercepts. All studies were coordinated through the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. Aboriginal people were overrepresented in all studies, were more likely to have been incarcerated and to report heroin as their drug of choice than non-Aboriginal IDUs. Females tended to be overrepresented among Aboriginal IDUs, were more likely to have been incarcerated and had a longer period of time since their last hepatitis C test than non-Aboriginal female IDUs. Aboriginal people are overrepresented among IDUs in Sydney. Given their greater risk of incarceration, particularly among females, Aboriginal IDUs were at greater risk of hepatitis C exposure than non-Aboriginal IDUs. The prison setting provides an opportunity to promote drug treatment and hepatitis C testing, though more needs to be done to reduce drug use and incarceration.