Syringe Distribution to Injection Drug Users for Prevention of HIV Infection: Opinions and Practices of Health Care Providers in New York City

Coffin, Phillip O.; Fuller, Crystal; Blaney, Shannon; Vadnai, Liza; Miller, Sarah; Vlahov, David
February 2004
Clinical Infectious Diseases;2/1/2004, Vol. 38 Issue 3, p438
Academic Journal
The Expanded Syringe Access Demonstration Program (ESAP), which was intended to increase access to syringes for injection drug users (IDUs), went into effect in New York State on 1 January 2001. ESAP allowed prescription-authorized health care providers to register to distribute syringes without a prescription. In spring 2002, we conducted a random postal survey of 1100 providers in New York City to evaluate involvement in ESAP and willingness to furnish IDUs with syringes. Among 363 nurse practitioners, physicians, and physician assistants responding, 16.9% knew about ESAP, and 2.0% believed they were registered; 50.5% would consider distributing syringes to patients who were IDUs. Most of those unwilling to distribute syringes were concerned about legal and moral issues. More respondents agreed that providers should prescribe syringes than distribute syringes (41.1% vs. 22.7%; P<.0001). These results suggest that many providers are willing to furnish IDUs with syringes but are unaware of the current law.


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