Willingness to use a Supervised Injection Site Among Participants of Syringe Exchange Program

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Napolillo, Hannah
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PURPOSE: Supervised injection sites (SIS) allow individuals to inject pre-obtained substances under the supervision of staff trained to provide harm reduction education, sterile injection drug equipment, and respond to an overdose. Implementation of SIS in countries such as Canada and Australia has shown to reduce the frequency of fatal overdoses, infectious disease transmission, and public syringe disposal. The purpose of this study was to better understand current syringe exchange program (SEP) participants’ willingness to use a SIS. SUBJECTS: The study population of interest includes participants of a Michigan SEP that are actively using injection drugs. The study included a convenience sample of 31 participants. METHODS: A needs assessment survey was developed in collaboration with a local SEP, and participants were recruited as they came in to the organization for services. Variables of interest include drug use characteristics, willingness to use a SIS, and perceived barriers to SIS use. Descriptive statistics were calculated for survey responses. RESULTS: The majority of participants were white, male, and under the age of 40. Injection drug use behaviors included injecting in a private place (51.6%), using heroin (96.8%), and a history of drug overdose (64.5%). The majority reported willingness to use a SIS if one was offered at their local SES, and identified criminal repercussions as the biggest barrier to accessing such service. CONCLUSIONS: Findings show current SEP participants support the development of a SIS. The results will assist the organization to best serve their participants and make decisions regarding program development in the future.