Injection drug users report good access to pharmacy sale of syringes.
ABSTRACT To examine injection drug users (IDUs) opinions and behavior regarding purchase of sterile syringes from pharmacies.
Urban and rural sites in Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Missouri.
Eight focus groups, with 4 to 15 IDU participants per group.
Transcripts of focus group discussions were evaluated for common themes by the authors and through the use of the software program NUD*IST.
Knowledge of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), pharmacy use, barriers to access from pharmacies, high-risk and risk-reducing behavior, and rural/urban difference.
Almost all participants knew the importance of using sterile syringes for disease prevention and reported buying syringes from pharmacies more than from any other source. Two IDUs believed pharmacists knew the syringes were being used for injecting drugs and perceived pharmacists' sales of syringes to be an attempt to contribute to HIV prevention. Most IDUs reported that sterile syringes were relativity easy to buy from pharmacies, but most also reported barriers to access, such as having to buy in packs of 50 or 100, being made to sign a book, having to make up a story about being diabetic, or having the feeling that the pharmacists were demeaning them. While the majority of IDUs reported properly cleaning or not sharing syringes and safely disposing of them, others reported inadequate cleaning of syringes and instances of sharing syringes or of improper disposal. There were few differences in IDUs' reported ability to buy syringes among states or between urban and rural sites, although the data suggest that IDUs could buy syringes more easily in the urban settings.
For the most part, participants understood the need for sterile syringes in order to protect themselves from HIV, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus and saw pharmacies as the best source of sterile syringes. Although these data are not generalizable, they suggest that pharmacists can and do serve as HIV-prevention service providers in their communities.
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ABSTRACT: Objective: To compare demographic and injecting characteristics of clients collecting needle syringes from needle syringe programmes (NSPs) and pharmacies. Methods: Clients obtaining needle syringes from three NSPs and one pharmacy in the same geographic area during one and four weeks, respectively were asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire. Results: Approximately half the 336 NSP (56%) and 63 pharmacy (49%) respondents reported using both NSPs and pharmacies in the past month. NSP and pharmacy respondents were similar on many characteristics: male gender (60 and 62%, respectively); median age (30 years for both groups); median age at first injection (18 years both groups); history of methadone treatment (62 and 53%); and heroin as the last drug injected (60 and 59%). NSP respondents were more likely than pharmacy respondents to report imprisonment in the previous year (20% versus 8%, P = 0.05), daily injection (67% versus 56%, P = 0.09) and re-use of more than one other person's needle syringe in the previous month (27% versus 7% of 52 and 15 reporting needle syringe re-use). Pharmacy respondents were more likely than NSP respondents to report amphetamine use (32% versus 10%, P < 0.001), shared use of tourniquets (24% versus 12%, P=0.01), spoons (43% versus 32%, P=0.09), filters (22% versus 15%, P = 0.1), or drug mix (16% versus 9%, P=0.1), and difficulty finding a vein (73% versus 26%, P < 0.001). Conclusion: The risk profile of IDUs (Injecting Drug Users) recruited at various sites provides important information for behavioural surveillance and health promotion efforts. Increased convenience of needle syringe access enhances HIV prevention efforts, however, appropriate education is required for people obtaining needle syringes at pharmacies to reduce sharing of injecting equipment other than needle syringes. copyright 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.International Journal of Drug Policy 12/2003; 14(5-6):425-430. · 2.40 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Since 2005, California law allowed over-the-counter (OTC) syringe sales pending local authorization. Although pharmacy sales of OTC syringes are associated with reduced injection-mediated risks and decreases in human immunodeficiency virus infection rates, little is known about the factors associated with syringe purchase among injection drug users (IDUs). Using a cross-sectional design, the authors applied targeted sampling to collect quantitative survey data from IDUs (n = 563) recruited in San Francisco, California, during 2008. They also compiled a comprehensive list of retail pharmacies, their location, and whether they sell OTC syringes. They used a novel combination of geographic information system and statistical analyses to determine the demographic, behavioral, and spatial factors associated with OTC syringe purchase by IDUs. In multivariate analyses, age, race, injection frequency, the type of drug injected, and the source of syringe supply were independently associated with OTC syringe purchases. Notably, the prevalence of OTC syringe purchase was 53% lower among African-American IDUs (adjusted prevalence ratio = 0.47, 95% confidence interval: 0.33, 0.67) and higher among injectors of methamphetamine (adjusted prevalence ratio = 1.35, 95% confidence interval: 1.07, 1.70). Two neighborhoods with high densities of IDUs had limited access to OTC syringes. Increased access to OTC syringes would potentially prevent blood-borne infectious diseases among IDUs.American journal of epidemiology 05/2012; 176(1):14-23. · 5.59 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Community pharmacies serve as key locations for public health services including interventions to enhance the availability of syringes sold over-the-counter (OTC), an important strategy to prevent injection-mediated HIV transmission. Little is known about the community characteristics associated with the availability of pharmacies and pharmacies that sell syringes OTC. We conducted multivariable regression analyses to determine whether the sociodemographic characteristics of census tract residents were associated with pharmacy presence in Los Angeles (LA) County during 2008. Using a geographic information system, we conducted hot-spot analyses to identify clusters of pharmacies, OTC syringe-selling pharmacies, sociodemographic variables, and their relationships. For LA County census tracts (N = 2,054), population size (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.22; 95 % confidence interval [CI], 1.16, 1.28), median age of residents (AOR, 1.03; 95 % CI, 1.01, 1.05), and the percent of households receiving public assistance (AOR, 0.97; 95 % CI, 0.94, 0.99) were independently associated with the presence of all pharmacies. Only 12 % of census tracts had at least one OTC syringe-selling pharmacy and sociodemographic variables were not independently associated with the presence of OTC syringe-selling pharmacies. Clusters of pharmacies (p < 0.01) were located proximally to clusters of older populations and were distant from clusters of poorer populations. Our combined statistical and spatial analyses provided an innovative approach to assess the sociodemographic and geographic factors associated with the presence of community pharmacies and pharmacies that participate in OTC syringe sales.Journal of Urban Health 04/2013; · 1.89 Impact Factor