Children who are sexually abused are nearly five times more likely to inject drugs in adulthood as those who are not — while children who witness violence are about three times more likely — according to new research released today at the American Public Health Association’s 2016 Annual Meeting and Expo in Denver.

Researchers from NYU School of Medicine and The Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research used a nationally representative sample of more than 12,000 Americans to explore associations between nine childhood traumas and adult drug use. Additionally: the association between sexual abuse during childhood and injection drug use was more than seven times as strong for males as females.

“Screening for and addressing childhood trauma may be an important strategy to prevent initiation of drug use,” said lead researcher Kelly Quinn, PhD, MPH, assistant professor at NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Population Health. “And for drug users, trauma-informed interventions throughout the life course are important for treatment and mitigation of relapse.”

Read the release in its entirety.

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