Prevalence and associates of non-fatal overdose among people who inject drugs in Saveh, Iran

Armoon, B., Griffiths, M.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524, Bayani, A., Mohammadi, R. and Ahounbar, E., 2022. Prevalence and associates of non-fatal overdose among people who inject drugs in Saveh, Iran. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, 17: 42. ISSN 1940-0640

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Background: As a public health issue, non-fatal overdose (NFOD) is highly prevalent among people who inject drugs (PWID). This can lead to an elevated risk of future overdose, causing various harms including possible death. It is essential to improve knowledge concerning this problem and its associated risk factors to inform overdose prevention and assistance programs. The primary aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of NFOD and associated risk factors among PWID in Saveh, Iran.

Methods: In the present cross-sectional study, 272 PWID living in Saveh, Iran were interviewed face-to-face using a structured survey. Data concerning socio-demographics, substance use, risky behaviors, and services utilization data were collected. The outcome variable (i.e., NFOD) was assessed by answering “Yes” to the question: “In the past three months, have you ever overdosed (at least once) by accident?”

Results: The prevalence of NFOD among PWID in the past three months was 54%. The characteristics and behaviors that were associated with an increased risk of experiencing NFOD in the past three months were being of older age (AOR = 5.2, p < 0.05), drug use initiation under the age of 22 years (AOR = 7.8, p < 0.05), being an alcohol user (AOR = 3.0, p < 0.05), and being a simultaneous multiple drug user (AOR = 5.8, p < 0.05). Also, more recent initiates to injecting (< 2 years) had an increased risk of experiencing a non-fatal overdose in the past three months. Findings also indicated that those who (i) attended a needle and syringe program (AOR: 0.3, p < 0.05), (ii) were visited by a general practitioner (AOR: 0.03, p < 0.05), and (iii) received a psychosocial intervention (AOR: 0.1, p < 0.05) were 0.3, 0.03 and 0.1 times less likely to report non-fatal overdosing than other participants, respectively.

Conclusions: The results indicate that intervention and prevention initiatives seeking to reduce NFOD among PWID should not only be focused on the primary drug used but also the use of alcohol and polysubstance use. Specific and tailored psychological interventions combined with pharmacotherapy may be highly beneficial for PWID who experience more severe types of substance use, including alcohol use disorders and/or polysubstance abuse.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Addiction Science and Clinical Practice
Creators: Armoon, B., Griffiths, M.D., Bayani, A., Mohammadi, R. and Ahounbar, E.
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Date: 2022
Volume: 17
ISSN: 1940-0640
Rights: © The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 05 Aug 2022 08:23
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2022 08:23

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