Addiction, Vol. 103, No. 1, pp. 101-108, January 2008
24 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2009 Last revised: 17 May 2009
Date Written: February 3, 2009
Law enforcement activities have been found to negatively influence the health behavuor of injection drug users (IDUs) in many studies. This study, set in the Mexican border cities of Tijuana, Baja California, and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, sought to identify factors associated with receptive syringe sharing among IDUs, and to elucidate the association between syringe possession arrests and syringe sharing. IDUs in Tijuana (N=222) and Cd. Juarez (N=206) were recruited using respondent driven sampling (RDS). An interviewer-administered survey was used to collect quantitative data on sociodemographic, behavioral and contextual characteristics, including self-reported syringe sharing and arrests for syringe possession. Associations with receptive syringe sharing were investigated using logistic regression with RDS adjustment. Overall, 48% of participants reported ever being arrested for carrying an unused/sterile syringe, even though syringe purchase and possession is legal in Mexico. Arrest for possessing unused/sterile syringes was independently associated with receptive syringe sharing, as were injecting in a shooting galler , injecting in the street , and injecting methamphetamine or cocaine (AOR=1.96; 95% CI: 1.15, 3.36). More than half of participants (57%) had been arrested for possessing a used syringe; in a second model, arrest for used syringe possession was also independently associated with receptive sharing. We thus documented high levels of syringe-related arrests in two Mexican-U.S. border cities and an independent association between these arrests and risky injection practices. Public health collaborations with law enforcement to modify the risk environment in which drug use occurs are essential to facilitate safer injection practices.
Keywords: injection drug use, police, HIV, Mexico, needle sharing, shooting galleries, public health
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Pollini, Robin A. and Brouwer, Kimberly C. and Lozada, Remedios M. and Ramos, Rebeca and Cruz, Michelle Firestone and Magis-Rodriguez, Carlos and Case, Patricia and Burris, Scott and Pu, Minya and Frost, Simon D. W. and Palinkas, Lawrence A. and Miller, Cari L. and Strathdee, Steffanie A., Syringe Possession Arrests are Associated with Receptive Syringe Sharing in Two U.S.-Mexico Border Cities (February 3, 2009). Addiction, Vol. 103, No. 1, pp. 101-108, January 2008; Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-31. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1337323