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Syringe Possession Arrests are Associated with Receptive Syringe Sharing in Two U.S.-Mexico Border Cities

Addiction, Vol. 103, No. 1, pp. 101-108, January 2008

Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-31

24 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2009 Last revised: 17 May 2009

Robin A. Pollini

Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE)

Kimberly C. Brouwer

University of California San Diego, School of Medicine

Remedios M. Lozada

Patronado Pro-COMUSIDA

Rebeca Ramos

United States-Mexico Border Health Association, USA

Michelle Firestone Cruz

University of California, San Diego

Carlos Magis-Rodriguez

Centro Nacional para la Prevención y Control del VIH/SIDA (CENSIDA)

Patricia Case

The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health

Scott Burris

Center for Public Health Law Research, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Minya Pu

University of California, San Diego

Simon D. W. Frost

University of California, San Diego

Lawrence A. Palinkas

University of California, San Diego

Cari L. Miller

British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS; University of British Columbia (UBC)

Steffanie A. Strathdee

University of California, San Diego – School of Medicine, Division of Global Public Health

Date Written: February 3, 2009

Abstract

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

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

Robin A. Pollini (Contact Author)

Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) ( email )

11720 Beltsville Drive, Suite 900
Calverton, MD 20705
United States

Kimberly C. Brouwer

University of California San Diego, School of Medicine ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
MC 0507
La Jolla, CA 92093-0507
United States

Remedios M. Lozada

Patronado Pro-COMUSIDA ( email )

Mexico

Rebeca Ramos

United States-Mexico Border Health Association, USA

United States

Michelle Firestone Cruz

University of California, San Diego

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

Carlos Magis-Rodriguez

Centro Nacional para la Prevención y Control del VIH/SIDA (CENSIDA)

Mexico

Patricia Case

The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health ( email )

800 Boylston Street
4th Floor
Boston, MA 02199
United States

Scott C. Burris

Center for Public Health Law Research, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-6576 (Phone)
215-204-1185 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.phlr.org

Minya Pu

University of California, San Diego

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

Simon D. W. Frost

University of California, San Diego

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

Lawrence A. Palinkas

University of California, San Diego

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

Cari L. Miller

British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS ( email )

608 - 1081 Burranrd Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6Z 1Y6
Canada

University of British Columbia (UBC)

2329 West Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia BC V6T 1Z4
Canada

Steffanie A. Strathdee

University of California, San Diego – School of Medicine, Division of Global Public Health ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

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