Although previous studies have identified high levels of drug-related harm in Thailand, little is known about illicit drug overdose experiences among Thai drug users. We sought to investigate non-fatal overdose experiences and responses to overdose among a community-recruited sample of injection drug users (IDU) in Bangkok, Thailand.
Data for these analyses came from IDU participating in the Mit Sampan Community Research Project. The primary outcome of interest was a self-reported history of non-fatal overdose. We calculated the prevalence of past overdose and estimated its relationship with individual, drug-using, social, and structural factors using multivariate logistic regression. We also assessed the prevalence of ever witnessing an overdose and patterns of response to overdose.
These analyses included 252 individuals; their median age was 36.5 years (IQR: 29.0 - 44.0) and 66 (26.2%) were female. A history of non-fatal overdose was reported by 75 (29.8%) participants. In a multivariate model, reporting a history of overdose was independently associated with a history of incarceration (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] = 3.83, 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 1.52 - 9.65, p = 0.004) and reporting use of drugs in combination (AOR = 2.48, 95% CI: 1.16 - 5.33, p = 0.019). A majority (67.9%) reported a history of witnessing an overdose; most reported responding to the most recent overdose using first aid (79.5%).
Experiencing and witnessing an overdose were common in this sample of Thai IDU. These findings support the need for increased provision of evidence-based responses to overdose including peer-based overdose interventions.