Reports from Thailand suggest that a growing number of people who inject drugs (IDU) are now injecting midazolam, a legal benzodiazepine with potent amnestic and ventilatory depressant effects. We therefore sought to examine midazolam injection among a community-recruited sample of Thai IDU.
We examined the prevalence and correlates of midazolam injection among 252 IDU participating in the Mitsampan Community Research Project, Bangkok, using multivariate logistic regression. We also examined the use of midazolam in combination with other drugs.
252 IDU participated in this study, including 66 (26.2%) women. In total, 170 (67.5%) participants reported ever having injected midazolam, and 144 (57.1%) reported daily midazolam injection in the past six months. In multivariate analyses, a history of midazolam injection was independently associated with using drugs in combination (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 5.86; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.96-11.60), younger age (AOR = 0.43; 95%CI: 0.22-0.83), having a history of methadone treatment (AOR = 3.12, 95%CI: 1.55-6.90), and binge drug use (AOR = 2.25, 95%CI: 1.09-4.63). The drugs most commonly used in combination with midazolam were heroin (72.3%) and yaba (methamphetamine) (30.5%).
We observed a high rate of midazolam injection among Thai IDU. Midazolam injection was strongly associated with polysubstance use and binge drug use, and was most commonly used in combination with both opiates and methamphetamines. Our findings suggest that midazolam injection has become increasingly common within Thailand. Evidence-based approaches for reducing harms associated with midazolam injection are needed.