Massachusetts Study Finds Mental Health Counseling Curbs Needle Sharing

Researching the service and treatment needs of injection drug users

Researchers at the Boston University School of Social Work interviewed IV-drug users and analyzed treatment and outcome data to explore whether drug treatment and other services can help IV-drug users reduce their drug use and other behaviors that increase their risk of HIV infection.

Key Findings:

  • Treatment for IV-drug use varies significantly between different racial and ethnic groups. Hispanic IV-drug users were a third less likely than whites to enter residential drug treatment and African Americans were half as likely as whites to enter methadone maintenance.
  • IV-drug users who received psychiatric medications for their mental or emotional problems were less likely to share needles.
  • Treatment with psychiatric medications, however, did not curtail drug use.