Harmonizing Disease Prevention and Police Practice in the Implementation of HIV Prevention Programs: Up-Stream Strategies from Wilmington, Delaware

Harm Reduction Journal, Vol. 9, No. 17, 2012

Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 91-2012

19 Pages Posted: 13 May 2012 Last revised: 11 Nov 2012

Leo Beletsky

Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - Bouvé College of Health Sciences

Basha Silverman

Brandywine Counseling and Community Services, Inc.

Corey S. Davis

Network for Public Health Law

Julia Graff

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) - Foundation of Delaware

Umbreen Bhatti

Melissa Santos

Santos Architecture and Graphic Design

Date Written: May 10, 2012

Abstract

Introduction: Improving access to sterile injection equipment is a key component in community-based infectious disease prevention. Implementation of syringe access programs has sometimes been complicated by community opposition and police interference.

Case description: In 2006, the Delaware legislature authorized a pilot syringe exchange program (SEP). A program designed to prevent, monitor, and respond to possible policing and community barriers before they had a chance to effect program implementation and operation was planned and implemented by a multidisciplinary team of legal practitioners and public health professionals.

Discussion: We report on an integrated intervention to address structural barriers to syringe exchange program utilization. This intervention employs community, police and client education combined with systematic surveillance of and rapid response to police interference to preempt the kinds of structural barriers to implementation observed elsewhere. The intervention addresses community concerns and stresses the benefits of syringe exchange programs to officer occupational safety.

Conclusions: A cohesive effort combining collaboration with and educational outreach to police and community members based on the needs and concerns of these groups as well as SEP clients and potential clients helped establish a supportive street environment for the SEP. Police-driven structural barriers to implementation of public health programs targeting populations engaged in drug use and other illicit behavior can be addressed by up-stream planning, prevention, monitoring and intervention strategies. More research is needed to inform the tailoring of interventions to address police-driven barriers to HIV prevention services, especially among marginalized populations.

Suggested Citation

Beletsky, Leo and Silverman, Basha and Davis, Corey S. and Graff, Julia and Bhatti, Umbreen and Santos, Melissa, Harmonizing Disease Prevention and Police Practice in the Implementation of HIV Prevention Programs: Up-Stream Strategies from Wilmington, Delaware (May 10, 2012). Harm Reduction Journal, Vol. 9, No. 17, 2012; Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 91-2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2055794

Leo Beletsky (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - Bouvé College of Health Sciences ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-373-5540 (Phone)

Basha Silverman

Brandywine Counseling and Community Services, Inc. ( email )

Wilmington, DE

Corey S. Davis

Network for Public Health Law ( email )

Saint Paul, MN
United States

Julia Graff

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) - Foundation of Delaware ( email )

DE
United States

Melissa Santos

Santos Architecture and Graphic Design ( email )

452 S. Atlantic Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
United States

No contact information is available for Umbreen Bhatti

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