Interest in a Safe Injection Facility Among Injection Drug Users in King County, WA
Low, Derek D.
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University of Washington Abstract Interest in a Safe Injection Facility Among Injection Drug Users in King County, WA Derek Low Chair of Supervisory Committee: Affiliate Associate Professor Caleb Banta-Green MSW, MPH, PhD Department of Health Services Background: Ninety Safe Injection Facilities (SIFs) operate worldwide spanning many developed nations. None operate within the United States. There is a growing body of research that supports the public health effectiveness and cost savings of SIFs. Harm reduction advocates in large US cities are exploring the possibility of operating SIFs in the US. This study is intended to characterize injection drug users who expressed a desire to use a SIF if it were made available in the Seattle area. Methods: Anonymous street intercept survey data were gathered at area syringe exchanges operated by Public Health-Seattle & King County in 2013. Descriptive statistics, bi-variate analyses, and logistic regression models were used to examine these data to understand characteristics associated with interest in a SIF. Results: A large majority, 87%, of those surveyed indicated interest in using a SIF if one were available (among the 420 who responded to the question with an explicit yes or no). Individuals who reported injecting into femoral veins (OR 5.36 95%CI 1.23-23.32) or into a muscle (OR 2.52 95%CI 1.17-5.45) were more likely to report they would use a SIF. Those who have witnessed an overdose (OR 2.56 95%CI 1.24-5.27) and those without permanent housing (OR 1.57 95%CI 0.81-3.03) were also more likely to report they would use a SIF. The results of this study indicate that injection drug user interest in a SIF is high. Conclusion: A significant portion of injection drug users in King County have expressed interest in using a SIF. Individuals with high risk behaviors related to injecting drugs indicated greater interest in using a SIF than IDUs that engage in safer injection practices. Interventions with these high risk individuals have more potential of improving public health than interventions targeting lower risk IDUs. Drug users, medical and social service providers and public health professionals should consider meeting to plan a pilot SIF locally. Other communities may want to explore the level of interest for a SIF among injection drug users.
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