In May 2000, New York State passed legislation permitting the sale, purchase, and possession of up to 10 needles and syringes without a prescription. The law is intended to reduce the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis among injection drug users (IDUs), their sexual partners, and their children. To obtain baseline information about the attitudes and likely practices of New York State pharmacists, we distributed a self-administered questionnaire to attendees of the state pharmacy association meeting in June 2000. Of 48 usable responses, 19% were from New York City and the rest from New York State. Of the 48, 42% were unaware of the new law before the day of the survey, and 60% were somewhat or very willing to sell needles and syringes to an IDU. Of those who were not willing to sell to an IDU, 82% cited familiarity of the customer as a very important consideration in their decision making. Those who were not willing to sell to an IDU were more concerned about the detrimental impact of syringe sales on the community, were less likely to be aware of the new law, and were more likely to be concerned about legal liability for syringe sales. Over 80% of all pharmacists believed that syringe sales to IDUs are an important preventive health measure. The majority also favored learning more about the law. Compared to other state surveys of pharmacists, these preliminary data show a similar level of interest in becoming involved with syringe availability programs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Urban Studies
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health