A focus group evaluation of drop boxes for safe syringe disposal

Laura Smith, Elise Riley, Peter Beilenson, David Vlahov, Benjamin Junge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Project Red Box, a pilot project undertaken by the Baltimore City Health Department, is designed to decrease the number of needles and syringes discarded in public locations. The qualitative evaluation consisted of focus groups with a total of 73 people, including injection drug users (IDUs), community residents, police officers, and local pharmacists. Mixed feelings were expressed about the project in each group. Community residents felt that discarded syringes pose a threat but having the boxes acknowledges drug use and send the message that drug use is acceptable. IDUs agreed that the project was a good idea, however, many maintained that the boxes would not be used. The majority of police officers and pharmacists felt that the boxes would not be used due to a lack of concern by IDUs regarding syringe disposal. Follow-up groups revealed that the boxes have had a positive impact on the community. Participants in each of the groups expressed positive opinions about the project and have either used the boxes themselves or have seen others use them. Expansion of the project was recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-920
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Drug Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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