Drug User Health

Drug user health programs work to improve the health and quality of life for people who use drugs. Drug user health includes efforts to reduce harm and improve access to care they need.

Washington State faces increases in fatal overdoses, infectious diseases like HIV and viral hepatitis, as well as life threatening bacterial infections like endocarditis and abscesses. People who are at increased risk of these conditions are less likely to access health care at traditional venues, due to lack of:

  • Transportation
  • Access to hygienic services
  • Negative past experience with healthcare systems
  • Insurance

Washington State drug user health programs are committed to working with people without:

  • Judgment
  • Coercion
  • Discrimination
  • Requiring that they stop using drugs before receiving help.

What other services are available to me?

Drug User Health Program

The Drug User Health team, housed in the Office of Infectious Disease, works collaboratively to support programs that address infectious disease among people who use drugs by cultivating trusting relationships with diverse communities of drug users adversely affected by Hepatitis, HIV, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD).

Drug User Health activities include:

Washington State County-level Vulnerability Assessment

In 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study to identify indicators associated with injection drug use, in order to determine which U.S. counties may be at risk of increasing rates of HIV or HCV among people who inject drugs. In 2019, Washington State performed three similar analyses to identify counties that may be at risk of increasing 1) HCV or 2) HIV infections or 3) opioid overdose among people who inject drugs. These one page reports summarize the assessment findings.

Some indicators used in the assessments can be visualized on a county-level in this report. These county-level profiles show some of the potential impact of social determinants of health.

Washington State Department of Health initiatives