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Pharmacy access to syringes among injecting drug users: follow-up findings from Hartford, Connecticut.
  • Published Date:
    Jun 1998
  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 113(Suppl 1):81-89
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-2.54 MB]


Details:
  • Alternative Title:
    Public Health Rep
  • Description:
    To break the link between drug use and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), in 1992 the state of Connecticut rescinded a 14-year ban on pharmacy sales of syringes without a physician's prescription. In 1993, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) evaluated the impact of the new legislation on access to syringes among injecting drug users (IDUs) and found an initial pattern of expanded access. However, it also found that some pharmacies, after negative experiences with IDU customers, reverted to requiring a prescription. This chapter reports findings from a four-year follow-up study of current IDU access to over-the-counter (OTC) pharmacy syringes in Hartford, Connecticut.|Through structured interviews, brief telephone interviews, and mailed surveys, data on nonprescription syringe sale practices were collected on 27 pharmacies, including 18 of the 21 pharmacies in Hartford and none from pharmacies in contiguous towns, during June and July 1997. Interview data on pharmacy syringe purchase from two sample of IDUs, a group of out-of-treatment injectors recruited through street outreach, and a sample of users of the Hartford Needle Exchange Program, also are reported.|The study found that, while market trends as well as negative experiences have further limited pharmacy availability of nonprescription syringes, pharmacies remain an important source of sterile syringes for IDUs. However, the distribution of access in not even; in some areas of the city it is much easier to purchase nonprescription syringes than in other. All of the seven pharmacies located on the north end of Hartford reported that they had a policy of selling OTC syringes, whereas only six (54.5%) of the II pharmacies located on the south end have such a policy. Overt racial discrimination was not found to be a barrier to OTC access to syringes.|To further decrease acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) risk among IDUs, there is a need for public education to counter empirically unsupported stereotypes about IDUs that diminish their access to health care and AIDS prevention resources and services. In states or cities where pharmacy sale of nonprescription syringes is illegal, policy makers should examine the benefits of removing existing barriers to sterile syringe acquisition. In cases in which pharmacy sale of nonprescription syringes is legal, local health departments should implement educational programs to inform pharmacy staff and management about the critically important role low-cost (or cost-free), sterile syringe access can play in HIV prevention.

  • Pubmed ID:
    9722813
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMCnull
  • Document Type:
  • Place as Subject:
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  • Supporting Files:
    No Additional Files
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