Housing Instability, Structural Vulnerability, and Non-Fatal Opioid Overdoses Among People Who Use Heroin in Washington Heights, New York City

R. E. Pérez-Figueroa, D. J. Obonyo, S. Santoscoy, H. Surratt, H. M. Lekas, C. F. Lewis, J. S. Lyons, S. Amesty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nationally, opioid overdose remains strikingly persistent among people experiencing homelessness and housing instability. Limited information is available about the characteristics of this phenomenon in economically disadvantaged communities of color. This study sought to evaluate the association between key contextual factors and experiencing a non-fatal opioid overdose among people who use heroin in Washington Heights, New York City. We conducted a cross-sectional survey (N = 101) among participants seeking harm reduction services who reported heroin use in the last three months. Binary logistic regression models examined the association between key social and structural factors and the likelihood of ever experiencing a non-fatal opioid overdose and recently experiencing a non-fatal opioid overdose. The majority of the sample reported housing instability and lived in poverty; almost 42% were homeless. After adjustment, participants who injected heroin were more likely to have ever experienced a non-fatal opioid overdose. Also, younger participants who reported hunger in the last six months were more likely to have experienced a non-fatal opioid overdose in the last three months. Findings suggest the role of structural vulnerability in shaping overdose risk among the participants. Overdose prevention strategies should consider factors of the social and economic environment to mitigate barriers to accessing health and social services within the context of the current opioid crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-330
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Medicine
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Keywords

  • heroin
  • homelessness
  • housing instability
  • non-fatal opioid overdose
  • structural vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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