• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of jurbhealthspringer.comThis journalToc AlertsSubmit OnlineOpen ChoiceThis journal
J Urban Health. Dec 2004; 81(4): 661–670.
PMCID: PMC3455919

A multistate trial of pharmacy syringe purchase


Pharmacies are a potential site for access to sterile syringes as a means for preventing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but the type and extent of their utility is uncertain. To examine pharmacy syringe purchase, we conducted a standardized, multistate study in urban and rural areas of four states in which attempts to purchase syringes were documented. Of 1,600 overall purchase attempts, 35% were refused. Colorado (25%) and Connecticut (28%) had significantly lower rates of refusal than Kentucky (41%) and Missouri (47%). Furthermore, urban settings had higher rates of refusal (40%) than rural settings (31%, P<.01). Race and gender did not have a consistent impact on rates of refusal. Despite potential advantages of pharmacies as sites for access to sterile syringes, pharmacy purchase of syringes faces significant obstacles in terms of the practices in different jurisdictions.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS prevention, Injection drug use, Pharmacies, Syringe purchase

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (89K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
1. Richard AJ, Mosier V, Atkinson JS. New syringe acquisition and multi-person use of syringes among illegal drug users. J Public Health Policy. 2002;23:324–343. [PubMed]
2. Friedman SR, Perlis T, Jarlais DC. Laws prohibiting over-the-counter syringe sales to injection drug users: relations to population density, HIV prevalence, and HIV incidence. Am J Public Health. 2001;91:791–793. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
3. Burris S, editor. Deregulation of Hypodermic Needles and Syringes as a Public Health Measure: a Report on Emerging Policy and Law in the United States. Washington, DC: American Bar Association; 2001.
4. Compton WM, Cottler LB, Decker SH, Mager D, Stringfellow R. Legal needle buying in St. Louis. Am J Public Health. 1992;82:595–596. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.82.4.595. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
5. National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors. HIV prevention and access to sterile syringes. Joint letter issued by the American Medical Association, American Pharmaceutical Association, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors. October 1999. Available at: www.cdc.gov/idu/pubs/hiv_prev_acc.htm. Accessed September 24, 2003.
6. Lundberg GD. New winds blowing for American Drug Policies [editorial] JAMA. 1997;278:946–947. doi: 10.1001/jama.278.11.946. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
7. Lurie P, Reingold AL, Browser B, et al. The Public Health Impact of Needle Exchange Programs in the United States and Abroad. Prepared for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Berkeley, CA; 1993.
8. Burris S, Welsh J, Ng M, Li M, Ditzler A. State syringe and drug possession laws potentially influencing safe syringe disposal by injection drug users. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2002;42(6 suppl 2):S94–S98. [PubMed]
9. Klein SJ, Harris-Valente K, Candelas AR, et al. What do pharmacists think about New York State’s new nonprescription syringe sale program? Results of a survey. J Urban Health. 2001;78:679–689. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
10. Finkelstein R, Tiger R, Greenwald R, Mukherjee R. Pharmacy syringe sale practices during the first year of expanded syringe availability in New York City (2001–2002) J Am Pharm Assoc. 2002;42(6 suppl 2):S83–S87. [PubMed]
11. Shotsky WJ, Cooper JG, Klein SJ. As easy as ESAP. The New York State Expanded Syringe Access Demonstration Program. Body Positive. 2003;16:15–17. [PubMed]
12. Kassler W, Ayotte D. Deregulation of syringe sale and possession in New Hampshire, 1991–2000. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2002;42(suppl 2):S21–S22. [PubMed]
13. Cotten-Oldenburg NU, Carr P, DeBoer JM, Collison EK, Novotny G. Impact of pharmacybased syringe access on injection practices among injecting drug users in Minnesota, 1998 to 1999. J AIDS. 2001;27:183–192. [PubMed]
14. Singer M, Baer HA, Scott G, Horowitz S, Weinstein B. Pharmacy access to syringes among injecting drug users: follow-up findings from Hartford, Connecticut. Public Health Rep. 1998;113(suppl 1):81–89. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
15. Burris S, Vernick JS, Ditzler A, Strathdee S. The legality of selling or giving syringes to injection drug users. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2002;42(6 suppl 2):S13–S18. [PubMed]
16. Latkin CA, Forman VL. Patterns of needle acquisition and sociobehavioral correlates of needle exchange program attendance in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. J AIDS. 2001;27:398–404. [PubMed]
17. Fuller CM, Ahern J, Vadnai L, et al. Impact of increased syringe access: preliminary findings on injection drug user syringe source, disposal, and pharmacy sales in Harlem, New York. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2002;42(6 suppl 2):S77–S82. [PubMed]
18. Reich W, Compton WM, Horton JC, et al. Injection drug users report good access to pharmacy sale of syringes. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2002;42(suppl 2):S68–S72. [PubMed]
19. Case P, Meredith G, Garcia D, et al. Needle exchange: from civil disobedience to public policy. Multicult Inquiries Res AIDS. 1990;4(4):1–3.
20. Stata Documentation Set. College Station, TX: Stata Press; 2001.
21. Reich W, Compton WM, Horton JC, et al. Pharmacist ambivalence about sale of syringes to injection drug users. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2002;42(suppl 2):S52–S57. [PubMed]
22. Epidemiological Trends in Drug Abuse—Advance Report. Washington, DC: National Institute on Drug Abuse; 2003.
23. Stopka TJ, Singer M, Teng W, Horton J, Compton WM. Pharmacy access to over-the-counter (OTC) syringes in Connecticut: implications for HIV and hepatitis prevention among injection drug users. AIDS Public Policy J. In press.
24. Coffin PO, Ahern J, Dorris S, Stevenson L, Fuller C, Vlahov D. More pharmacists in high-risk neighborhoods of New York City support selling syringes to injection drug users. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2002;42(6 suppl 2):S62–S67. [PubMed]
25. Jones TS, Coffin PO. Preventing blood-borne infections through pharmacy syringe sales and safe community syringe disposal. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2002;42(6 suppl 2):S6–S9. [PubMed]
26. Lewis BA, Koester SK, Bush TW. Pharmacists’ attitudes and concerns regarding syringe sales to injection drug users in Denver, Colorado. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2002;42(6 suppl 2):S46–S51. [PubMed]
27. Taussig J, Junge B, Burris S, Jones TS, Sterk CE. Individual and structural influences shaping pharmacists’ decisions to sell syringes to injection drug users in Atlanta, Georgia. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2002;42(6 suppl 2):S40–S45. [PubMed]
28. Blumenthal WJ, Springer KW, Jones TS, Sterk CE. Pharmacy student knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about selling syringes to injection drug users. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2002;42(6 suppl 2):S34–S39. [PubMed]
29. Rich JD, Whitlock TL, Towe CW, et al. Prescribing syringes to prevent HIV: a survey of infectious disease and addiction medicine physicians in Rhode Island. Subst Use Misuse. 2001;36(5):535–550. doi: 10.1081/JA-100103559. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
30. Moatti JP, Vlahov D, Feroni I, Perrin V, Obadia Y. Multiple access to sterile syringes for injection drug users: vending machines, needle exchange programs and legal pharmacy sales in Marseille, France. Eur Addict Res. 2001;7:40–45. doi: 10.1159/000050713. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
31. Harbke CR, Fisher DG, Cagle HH, Trubatch BN, Fenaughty AM, Johnson ME. Telephone survey of Alaskan pharmacists’ nonprescription needle-selling practices. J Urban Health. 2000;77:113–120. doi: 10.1007/BF02350967. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
32. Simpson HL. Injection drug users and pharmacists: a call for compassion, cooperation, and care. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2002;42(6 suppl 2):S10–S12. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Urban Health : Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine are provided here courtesy of New York Academy of Medicine


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...