Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dr. April Young

Committee Member

Dr. Rachel Vickers-Smith

Committee Member

Dr. Jennifer Havens


Aim: This study aims to understand the demographic and behavioral characteristics of people who inject drugs (PWID) who assist others with injection, hereafter “injection assistors,” and assess the characteristics of injection assistors compared to PWID who do not assist others with injection in Appalachian Kentucky.

Methods: A cross sectional secondary data analysis of data collected from 433 PWID enrolled in the ongoing Kentucky Outreach Service (KyOSK) was performed. Logistic regression analyses were performed to compare injection assistors to those who do not assist others on demographic, behavioral, service usage, and harm reduction characteristics.

Results: In total, 128 (29%) PWID reported assisting others with injection. There were no statistically significant differences between assistors and their counterparts in demographic characteristics. Assistors had a mean age of 39, and 53% were male. In models following adjustment for age, sex, houselessness and injection frequency, participants who have easy access to condoms and new/clean needles/syringes are at a reduced odds of being an injection assistor.

Conclusion: More research is needed to become more informed on injection assistors and their demographics, and to understand their barriers and lack of easy access to services.

Available for download on Sunday, April 12, 2026

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