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Reductions in high-risk drug use behaviors among participants in the Baltimore needle exchange program.

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Department of Epidemiology, The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.



To determine whether enrollment in the Baltimore Needle Exchange Program (NEP) was associated with short-term reduction in risky injection practices.


Demographic information was collected on NEP participants upon enrollment. A systematic sample of enrollees was interviewed at program entry, 2 weeks, and 6 months later on recent drug-related behaviors. Comparisons were performed using paired t-tests.


Among 221 NEP participants who completed baseline, 2-week and 6-month follow-up visits, significant reductions (p < .01) were reported in using a previously used syringe (21.6%, 11.0%, 7.8%, respectively), lending one's used syringe to a friend (26.7%, 18.4%, 12%, respectively), and several indirect sharing activities. Reductions were reported in the mean number of injections per syringe and the mean number of injections per day (p < .001).


These results show rapid and mostly large reductions in a variety of risky injection drug use behaviors. Study findings are consistent with earlier reports showing an association between behavioral risk reduction and participation in a needle exchange program.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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