Using drugs and the lifestyle that goes along with using can have a marked effect on your health. This is even more the case if you’re HIV and/or hepatitis C positive.

Looking after yourself physically can help you cope with and minimise harmful effects of drugs use. It is important to have a well balanced diet when you’re using drugs, especially if you have hepatitis C where the liver finds it difficult to break down foods.

Another important issue, especially for regular opioid users, is that of pain management of acute episodes like operations. Mainstream health providers who harbour notions of “drug-seeking” need to understand how to treat someone who has a tolerance to opioids. Managing pain when on buprenorphine is another challenge.

Having the facts, understanding what’s happening to you and taking an active, informed role in any health treatment or procedure can have a positive impact on the outcome. It can also be very satisfying to play an active role in managing your health and wellbeing.