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How does the use of multiple needles/syringes per injecting episode impact on the measurement of individual level needle and syringe program coverage?


O'Keefe, D and McCormack, A and Cogger, S and Aitken, C and Burns, L and Bruno, R and Stafford, J and Butler, K and Breen, C and Dietze, P, How does the use of multiple needles/syringes per injecting episode impact on the measurement of individual level needle and syringe program coverage?, The International journal on drug policy, 46, (August) pp. 99-106. ISSN 0955-3959 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2017 Elsevier B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.05.055


Background: Recent work by McCormack et al. (2016) showed that the inclusion of syringe stockpiling improves the measurement of individual-level syringe coverage. We explored whether including the use of a new parameter, multiple sterile syringes per injecting episode, further improves coverage measures.

Methods: Data comes from 838 people who inject drugs, interviewed as part of the 2015 Illicit Drug Reporting System. Along with syringe coverage questions, the survey recorded the number of sterile syringes used on average per injecting episode. We constructed three measures of coverage: one adapted from Bluthenthal et al. (2007), the McCormack et al. measure, and a new coverage measure that included use of multiple syringes. Predictors of multiple syringe use and insufficient coverage (<100% of injecting episodes using a sterile syringe) using the new measure, were tested in logistic regression and the ability of the measures to discriminate key risk behaviours was compared using ROC curve analysis.

Results: 134 (16%) participants reported needing multiple syringes per injecting episode. Women showed significantly increased odds of multiple syringe use, as did those reporting injection related injuries/diseases and injecting of opioid substitution drugs or pharmaceutical opioids. Levels of insufficient coverage across the three measures were substantial (20%28%). ROC curve analysis suggested that our new measure was no better at discriminating injecting risk behaviours than the existing measures.

Conclusion: Based on our findings, there appears to be little need for adding a multiple syringe use parameter to existing coverage formulae. Hence, we recommend that multiple syringe use is not included in the measurement of individual-level syringe coverage.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:injecting drug use, harm reduction, needle and syringe coverage
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health services and systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Bruno, R (Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno)
ID Code:119274
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2017-07-28
Last Modified:2018-07-26

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