To compare local practice with national guidelines, examine the areas of divergence, and establish complication rates for methadone and diamorphine. Fifty-one patients from Cornwall treated with injectable methadone or diamorphine were interviewed using a standard questionnaire.
Fewer problems were reported by individuals using injectable diamorphine, though for both drugs intramuscular injection was more problematic than intravenous injection. Injections into the groin were common, as was problem drinking.
Intramuscular administration of medications may be more likely to cause abcesses or cellulitis. Ongoing groin injecting and alcohol misuse is common, but should probably be tolerated if other harm reduction benefits accrue. It may be prohibitively expensive to set up injecting rooms in rural parts of the UK and future policy should reflect this.
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