Multilevel Community-Based Intervention to Increase Access to Sterile Syringes Among Injection Drug Users Through Pharmacy Sales in New York City
February 26, 2007
In specific neighborhoods and among black and Hispanic injection drug users (IDUs), research has shown there is minimal use of pharmacies. The authors in this study developed a community-based participatory research partnership to assess whether a multilevel intervention would increase sterile syringe access through a new policy that permits nonprescription syringe sales in pharmacies.
Using South Bronx as a comparison, the researchers targeted Harlem in New York City. Information materials were disseminated at community forums, pharmacist-training programs, and counseling or outreach programs for IDUs. Researchers compared cross-sectional samples in three target populations (pre- and post-intervention): community members (attitudes and opinions), pharmacists (opinions and practices), and IDUs (risk behaviors).
Negative opinions of IDU syringe sales decreased among community members (N=1,496) and pharmacists (N=131) in Harlem, whereas the comparison community had either no change or an increase in negative opinions. While IDUs (N=728) increased pharmacy use in both communities, pharmacy use among black IDUs in Harlem increased significantly, but not in the comparison community; syringe reuse decreased significantly in Harlem, but not in the comparison community.
"Targeting the individual and the social environment through a multilevel community-based intervention reduced high-risk behavior, particularly among Black IDUs," the authors concluded.
American Journal of Public Health
01.07; Vol. 97; No. 1: P. 117-124; Crystal M. Fuller, M.P.H., Ph.D.; Sandro Galea, M.D., Dr.P.H.; Wendy Caceres, B.S.; Shannon Blaney, M.P.H.; Sarah Sisco, M.P.H.; David Vlahov, Ph.D.
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.