Injection drug users' and their risk networks' experiences of and attitudes towards drug dealer violence in Baltimore, Maryland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: A large portion of violence associated with drug use is due to drug dealing. These analyses sought to examine injection drug users' attitudes and experiences of drug dealer violence. Methods: The current study used the 18-month follow up data of STEP into Action (STEP) study, an HIV prevention intervention among drug injectors and their risk network members conducted in Baltimore, Maryland. Four scales assessed acceptability of drug dealer violence, willingness to talk to drug users about avoiding drug dealer violence, social norms about reporting drug dealer violence and intentions to report drug dealer violence to the police. Results: Many (44%) of the 373 participants reported witnessing drug dealers' acts of violence within the prior 6 months. Although the majority of participants disagreed with statements on the acceptability of dealers using violence, only a minority indicated that they would call the police if they observed dealer violence. Most participants indicated that they would be interested in talking to drug users about how to avoid violent dealers. Males were more likely to report that violence was acceptable, whereas African Americans were less likely to condone violence. Those who were homeless and had higher incomes were more likely to report witnessing drug dealer violence. Conclusions: These results suggest that it may be feasible to train current and former drug users and their risk network members in methods to promote violence reduction among drug dealers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-141
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

Keywords

  • Drug dealer
  • Injection drug users
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy

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