VANCOUVER – A new study by researchers in British Columbia has found that the vast majority of youth on the streets of Vancouver who try injection drugs for the first time become regular users.
    
The study by researchers at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS focused on 338 youth between the ages of 14 and 25 years old who regularly access shelters or drop-in centres.
    
Of those, 74 per cent became regular drug injectors, and 83 per cent of those regular users began frequent use within one month of their first time injecting heroin, cocaine or methamphetamines.
    
Cora De Beck, one of the researchers on the study, says the youth were mainly based in the south side of downtown Vancouver.
    
De Beck says the results were quite surprising, because in recent years, dramatic reductions have been seen for regular injection drug use in Vancouver.
    
She said the increase in drug use also put more youth at risk of contracting HIV and AIDS.