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AIDS Educ Prev. 2010 Jun;22(3):238-51. doi: 10.1521/aeap.2010.22.3.238.

A community-based approach to linking injection drug users with needed services through pharmacies: an evaluation of a pilot intervention in New York City.

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Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA.


Studies suggest that community-based approaches could help pharmacies expand their public health role, particularly pertaining to HIV prevention. Thirteen pharmacies participating in New York's Expanded Syringe Access Program, which permits nonprescription syringe sales to reduce syringe-sharing among injection drug users (IDUs), were enrolled in an intervention to link IDU syringe customers to medical/social services. Sociodemographics, injection practices, beliefs about and experiences with pharmacy use, and medical/social service utilization were compared among 29 IDUs purchasing syringes from intervention pharmacies and 66 IDUs purchasing syringes from control pharmacies using chi-square tests. Intervention IDUs reported more positive experiences in pharmacies than controls; both groups were receptive to a greater public health pharmacist role. These data provide evidence that community-based participatory research aided in the implementation of a pilot structural intervention to promote understanding of drug use and HIV prevention among pharmacy staff, and facilitated expansion of pharmacy services beyond syringe sales in marginalized drug-using communities.

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