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Drug Abuse

The Injecting Risk Questionaire was developed by The Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour to assess levels of injecting risk behaviour. There are 4 versions available for use in different settings. The version included here is intended to be administered by interview in agency settings, it may be photocopied from this book or ordered from The Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour.



1RQ was developed by the Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour


This questionnaire measures the extent and nature of the sharing of needles and syringes and other injecting equipment. It is useful for programmes which aim to reduce the transmission of infections such as HIV, HBC and HCV among injecting drug wers.

It can be used to help assess levels of injecting risk behaviour. It identifies different sharing practices and is suitable for different types of injecting drug users. It can be used to assess need and to target inter-ventions. With suitable research design it can be used to help assess the impact of prevention services such as needle and syringe distribution schemes, publicity campaigns, peer education, and drug treatment programmes.

It was developed in order Yo measure progress towards the UK government target to reduce the proportion of injectors who share injecting equipment.

Special features

The questionnaire covers both the direct sharing of needles and syringes, and the sharing of ancillary equipment ('ffidirect sharing').

It can be administered in agency and non-agency (comsi settings by self completion and by interview by agency staff, researchers or field workers to different types of injectors ofillic~t drugs. (It has not been validated for use with injectors of steroids.)

It takes about five minutes to complete.

Responses are recorded by circling an answer or writing in a number.

performance data me available (Stimon cl al 1997).


Ill is for use with people who have injected drugs in the last tow weeks.

Versions available

There are four versions of the questionnaire. Each version is identifiable by a reference code printed on the first page. The printed version has the title INJECTING QUESTIONNAIRE.

Ill 1RQ administered by Intervie. in Agency settings

1RQ for Self-completion in Agency settings

L~ IRQ administered by Interview in Non-agency settings

1RQ-SQ-NA IRQ for Sefcompletion inNon-agency settings

Questions and sub-scales
MQ comprises 17 questions which measure the occurrence of different sharing practices, and the nmb~ of people with whom these have been done. It is preferable that all 17 questions are asked. However Question 1 can be used alone where we of the whole questionnaire is not feasible. Question 1 has been designed as a basic Health of the Nation Question (HNQ). Note however that HNQ
under-eslimates the level of sharing when compared with results from the whole questionnaire (IRQ). (For details of under-estimation and a suitable correction factor. see Stinnson cl al 1997).

Seeking cooperation from injectors and avoiding bias
Although the questionnaire performs well when administered by staff in drug agencies, care should be taken that
subjects' answers are not biased by, features of the situation in which questions are asked. In some settings
respondents may feel that their answers may affect their relation with staff (and vice versa). In such cases
consideration Should be given to the collection ofinformation by people independent ofthe agency.
Proceed with
Subjects should be told why the information is being collected, and consent should be obtained. They should be Say to respon
told that:
the information will help assess the effect of 1-11% prevention services - such as needle exchanges, publicity
This researc
campaigns, and drug treatment projammes
needle exch
in the case of those attending agencies, their answers will not affect the help and advice that they receive
their answers will be kept confidential.
All answeri

Instructions to respondents and question wording
Equipment sharing' and 'syringe sharing' are capable of various interpretations and the way questions are
Your answ(
worded affects the results that are obtained. It is therefore essential that the exact wording of questions is followed

Interview version
instructions to interviewers are in the grey shaded boxes. All wording not in grey boxes should be read out to

Self-completion version
Completed questionnaires should be placed and sealed in an envelope.

Subject record numbers
Names are not written on the questionnaire. At the bottom of the last page is a five digit box which can be used
Thefirst tw
for a subject identifier.

Subject characteristics
On the last page of the questionnaire some limited information is recorded on subject characteristics (sex, age and main drug classes injected).


Questions are answered on a graded scale (ie 'frequently', 'sometimes', 'hardly ever', 'never' or 'number of people'). For assessing progress towards the Health of the Nation target, a positive response to any question [01 During indicates equipment sharing. Agency staff and researchers may wish to conduct further analyses on responses to questions about different kinds of sharing, frequency of sharing, and numbers of people with whom equipment is have  shared. This may be useful where more detail is required for needs assessment and impact evaluations.

Printed copies of the Injecting Risk Questionnaire may be obtained from:
1RQ Questionnaire

Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour
200 Seagrave Road

Tel: 0 18 1 846 6565
Please fax: 0181 846 6555 for costs of bulk purchases of the different versions of the questionnaire.
Quote the appropriate reference code (eg 1RQ-1-A) for the versions of the questionnaire that you require.

Reference and further information
Stimson G.V., Jones S,, Chalmers C. and Sullivan D (1997) A short questionnaire (IRQ) to assess injecting risk behaviour. Addiction. In Press.

Stimson G.V. (1997) Measuring theHealth of the Nation target for injecting drug users: the injecting risk questionnaire. Executive Summary No 54 London: Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour

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Last Updated (Wednesday, 05 January 2011 23:40)


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