This is an application for support to study over-the-counter (OTC) purchase of syringes, which is an alternative to needle exchange for many jurisdictions.
The specific aims of this study to be conducted at sites in Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Missouri, and North Carolina are related to community, individual, and technology transfer. The community aims will be achieved through a field experiment designed to: (1) establish and compare rates of successful OTC syringe purchase by injection drug users (IDUs) at pharmacies in five states, which vary in the policies and regulations governing syringe purchase and possession; and (2) determine whether gender racial/ethnic or rural/urban characteristics affect OTC syringe purchase by IDUs. The individual aims will be achieved through a series of focus groups with IDUs and pharmacists conducted at each site to: (a) examine urban and rural IDU attitudes and behaviors across the five sites, including frequency of OTC syringe purchase compared to other methods of acquiring syringes; and (b) examine pharmacist attitudes and behaviors across the five sites in order to evaluate reasons for barriers to OTC syringe purchase. The technology transfer aim will be achieved through publication of journal articles and presentation of findings at local and national symposia to disseminate findings to the scientific community, practitioners, policy-makers and community members. The field experiment will have a balanced, stratified design in which male, female, White and minority former drug users hired as research assistants attempt to purchase syringes at 100 rural and urban pharmacies in each site. The focus group studies will include separate rural and urban groups of IDUs, and separate urban and rural groups of pharmacists from pharmacies where syringe purchase was refused in the field experiment and pharmacists from pharmacies where syringe purchase was allowed in the field experiment. The overall goal is to understand syringe purchasing in more detail because this may lead to new interventions to reduce HIV transmission and will help to explain how an important component of HIV transmission may be influenced by local practices above and beyond existing state laws and regulations.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG5-AARR-8 (03))
Program Officer
Lambert, Elizabeth
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Washington University
Schools of Medicine
Saint Louis
United States
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Denisco, Richard A; Chandler, Redonna K; Compton, Wilson M (2008) Addressing the intersecting problems of opioid misuse and chronic pain treatment. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 16:417-28
Compton, Wilson M; Horton, Joe C; Cottler, Linda B et al. (2004) A multistate trial of pharmacy syringe purchase. J Urban Health 81:661-70
Reich, Wendy; Compton, Wilson M; Horton, Joe C et al. (2002) Pharmacist ambivalence about sale of syringes to injection drug users. J Am Pharm Assoc (Wash) 42:S52-7
Reich, Wendy; Compton, Wilson M; Horton, Joeseph C et al. (2002) Injection drug users report good access to pharmacy sale of syringes. J Am Pharm Assoc (Wash) 42:S68-72