Joint Drug Purchases and Drug Preparation Risk Behaviors Among Puerto Rican Injection Drug Users

Universidad Central del Caribe
AIDS and Behavior (Impact Factor: 3.49). 02/2001; 5(1):85-96. DOI: 10.1023/A:1009515723223


In the process of preparing jointly purchased drugs, injection drug users (IDUs) may share drug preparation materials and use a single syringe to distribute injectable drugs. The aim of this study was to examine the association of joint drug purchasing with drug preparation risk behaviors among Puerto Rican IDUs. The study sample comprised 555 IDUs from New York City and 297 from Puerto Rico. IDUs reported pooling money for 12% of the injection episodes in New York, and for 14% of the injection episodes in Puerto Rico. In both study sites, all correlation coefficients between frequency of pooling money and drug preparation behaviors were .30 or larger. After controlling for sociodemographics, drugs injected, and injection frequency, pooling money was significantly associated to all four drug preparation behaviors in both study sites. HIV prevention interventions need to be cognizant of the joint purchasing of drugs and its relationship to drug preparation risk behaviors.

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    • "Second, while we endeavored to adjust for potential confounders, the possibility remains that we were unable to identify all factors that may have affected our analyses. To that end, our dichotomous measure of daily amount spent on drugs may have been confounded by the informal economic transactions that are common within street-level illicit drug markets (Colón et al., 2001). Finally, our discussion of social capital within the context of a drug market was preliminary, and more research is needed to quantitatively assess the potential impact of this phenomenon through well-validated measurement tools. "
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    ABSTRACT: Drug dealing among drug users has been associated with elevated risk-taking and negative health outcomes. However, little is known about the cessation of drug dealing among this population. We assessed time to cessation of drug dealing using Cox regression. We also used generalized estimating equation (GEE) analysis and chi-square analysis to examine factors associated with willingness to cease drug dealing. In total, 868 participants reported drug dealing between November 2005 and March 2009. Among 381 participants dealing drugs at baseline, 194 (51%) ceased dealing. Incidence of dealing cessation was positively associated with spending less than $50 per day on drugs (Adjusted Hazard Ratio [AHR]=1.88, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.14-3.10) and negatively associated with buying drugs from the same source (AHR=0.60, 95% CI: 0.37-0.98). In a GEE analysis, willingness to cease dealing was positively associated with older age (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR]=1.02, 95% CI: 1.01-1.03), crack use (AOR=2.00, 95% CI: 1.44-2.79), public injecting (AOR=1.95, 95% CI: 1.55-2.43), and reporting that police presence affects drug purchases (AOR=1.53, 95% CI: 1.22-1.91), and negatively associated with crystal methamphetamine injection (AOR=0.62, 95% CI: 0.47-0.83). Intensity of drug use and acquisition method were predictive of dealing cessation. Willingness to cease dealing was associated with a range of risky drug-related activities. Interventions to reduce drug dealing should be conceived in tandem with addiction treatment strategies.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Drug and alcohol dependence
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    • "Evidence relating to the risk of HCV transmission associated with sharing non-N/S injecting paraphernalia is less well established however. Ethnographic studies have highlighted numerous opportunities for cross-contamination to occur when individuals share drug preparation equipment other than N/S [7-10]. Laboratory studies have isolated HCV RNA from injecting equipment including spoons used as drug cookers (also called stericups), filters (also called cottons or sterifilts) and water samples [11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sharing drug injecting paraphernalia other than needles and syringes (N/S) has been implicated in the transmission of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) among injecting drug users (IDU). We aimed to determine whether the provision of sterile non-N/S injecting paraphernalia reduces injecting risk behaviours or HCV transmission among IDU. A systematic search of seven databases and the grey literature for articles published January 1989-February 2010 was undertaken. Thirteen studies (twelve observational and one non-randomized uncontrolled pilot intervention) were identified and appraised for study design and quality by two investigators. No studies examined the association between the provision of non-N/S injecting paraphernalia and incident HCV infection. One cross-sectional study found that individuals who frequently, compared to those who infrequently, used sterile cookers and water, were less likely to report prevalent HCV infection. Another found no association between the uptake of sterile non-N/S injecting paraphernalia and self-reported sharing of this paraphernalia. The remaining observational studies used attendance at needle and syringe exchange programmes (NSP) or safer injection facilities (SIF) that provided non-N/S injecting paraphernalia as a proxy measure. Eight studies presented adjusted odds ratios, ranging from 0.3 to 0.9, suggesting a reduced likelihood of self-reported sharing of non-N/S injecting paraphernalia associated with use of NSP or SIF. There was substantial uncertainty associated with these estimates however. Three unadjusted studies reported a reduction in the prevalence of sharing of non-N/S injecting paraphernalia over time among NSP users. Only one study reported an adjusted temporal trend in the prevalence of sharing non-N/S injecting paraphernalia, finding higher rates among non-NSP users than NSP users at each time point, and a greater reduction in sharing among non-NSP than NSP users over time. Study limitations included the use of convenience samples, self-reported exposure and outcome measures, flawed classification of the exposed and unexposed groups, and inadequate adjustment for potential confounding variables. The evidence to demonstrate that the provision of sterile non-N/S injecting paraphernalia reduces HCV transmission or modifies injecting risk behaviours is currently limited by an insufficient volume and quality of studies. Further research is required to inform practice and policy in this area.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2010 · BMC Public Health
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    • "Recent studies of street-recruited IDUs in San Juan document HIV seroprevalence of 21% [2] and HCV seroprevalence of 89% [3]. Behind these disturbing statistics are consistently high levels of risky injection behaviors, including number of daily injections [4], utilization of shooting galleries [5], joint drug purchase and injection of shared drugs [6], and re-use of injection equipment [7]. At present, IDUs are unable to access adequate numbers of new syringes or ancillary injection equipment. "
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    ABSTRACT: Injection drug users (IDUs) in San Juan, Puerto Rico are characterized by high rates of daily injecting, injection of shared drugs, re-use of injection syringes, and use of shooting galleries. They lack adequate access to new injection syringes and drug preparation equipment, and experience elevated rates of HIV and HCV infection. Between April and August, 2006, researchers and active IDUs collaborated in the development of an experimental HIV/HCV intervention aimed at identifying drug preparation items and practices that will enable IDUs to make drug solutions without potentially contaminated injection syringes contacting materials used to prepare drugs. The collaboration involved discussing and testing a variety of drug preparation items and practices in office and community settings. The process was repeated until concerns that had been raised were resolved, and a tentative set of intervention items and practices to be evaluated in a community field trial was identified. Throughout, a strong emphasis was placed on the capacity of an item or practice to address common problems confronted by IDUs (blunted needles, clogged syringes, injected particles) in addition to the core aim of reducing contamination of preparation materials by blood in injection syringes. This report describes the final selection of items and practices: 1) A small water bottle that permits IDUs to add approximately .05 cc water drops directly to drug powder in cookers; 2) A preparation syringe (a type of ancillary equipment not used for injecting) that permits IDUs to pull up a measurable amount of water to add to drug powder, an alternative to producing water drops; 3) A filtering device, the Sterifilt filter, attached to a preparation syringe, which eliminates the need for cotton or cigarette filters; 4) Use of a preparation syringe to distribute drug solution by backloading to injection syringe(s); 5) A small water bottle enabling IDUs to clean injection syringes by backload rinsing. The overarching aim of this experimental HIV/HCV intervention was to promote the safe re-use of drug preparation and injection items, and to impact the large number of IDUs in San Juan who maintain personal injection syringes, but currently use communal ancillary equipment in shooting galleries and inject drug solutions prepared with other IDUs' injection syringes.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2008 · Harm Reduction Journal
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