Quality of Life Research

, Volume 22, Issue 8, pp 2113–2121 | Cite as

Quality of life of people who inject drugs: characteristics and comparisons with other population samples

  • Jane A. Fischer
  • Sue Conrad
  • Alexandra M. Clavarino
  • Robert Kemp
  • Jackob M. Najman
Brief Communication



To assess the quality of life (QOL) of persons who inject drugs.


Some 483 current injecting drug users visiting a large NSP over a 2-week period in October 2009 were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. QOL was measured using the WHOQOL-BREF. Data were collected on age, gender, injecting patterns, current drug treatment status and hepatitis C status. Participant QOL profiles were compared to published domain scores for a range of other population groups.


People who inject drugs (PWID) experience a very poor QOL irrespective of socio-demographic characteristics, injecting patterns, hepatitis C sero-status and drug treatment status. Sample participants (PWID) experience a QOL below that experienced by many population groups in the community affected by disabling chronic illnesses.


Injecting drug use is associated with a poor QOL. Some PWID may be self-medicating for chronic non-malignant pain, and it is likely that these people had a low QOL prior to the decision to inject. Despite this caveat, it remains likely that injecting drug use does little to enhance the QOL of the user.


People who inject drugs Quality of life Needle and syringe programme 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane A. Fischer
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
  • Sue Conrad
    • 3
    • 4
  • Alexandra M. Clavarino
    • 1
  • Robert Kemp
    • 5
  • Jackob M. Najman
    • 3
    • 6
  1. 1.Pharmacy Australia Centre for Excellence (PACE), School of PharmacyThe University of QueenslandWoolloongabbaAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Drug and Alcohol Studies/Statewide ServicesQueensland HealthBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Population HealthThe University of QueenslandHerstonAustralia
  4. 4.Biala Harm Reduction CentreQueensland HealthBrisbaneAustralia
  5. 5.Needle and Syringe Program, Management UnitQueensland HealthHerstonAustralia
  6. 6.School of Social SciencesThe University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia
  7. 7.National Centre for Education and Training on AddictionFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia

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