Readiness for cessation of drug use among recent attenders and nonattenders of a needle exchange program

Leigh A. Henderson, David Vlahov, David D. Celentano, Steffanie A. Strathdee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Needle exchange programs (NEPs) represent a bridge to drug abuse treatment. NEP attenders tend to have more severe drug problems, however, and may be less ready to reduce their drug use than other drug users. This study investigated the relationship between NEP attendance and readiness for cessation of drug use. Since the period from 1988 through 1989, a community-based sample of injection drug users (IDUs) in Baltimore has undergone semiannual interview-administered questionnaires and HIV testing. A total of 288 IDUs completed a questionnaire on readiness for cessation of drug use. Readiness for drug use cessation was assessed from a 28-item validated scale of problem drug use and intention to quit, based on the "stages of change" model. Logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with readiness for cessation of drug use, including sociodemographics, drug use behaviors, and NEP attendance. Thirty percent of respondents attended the NEP in the past month. Stage of change in readiness for cessation of drug use did not differ between NEP attenders and nonattenders (OR = 0.9; 95% CI: 0.5-1.6). Similar proportions of persons recently attending and not attending the NEP were classified as ready to stop drug use (about 30%). In multivariate analysis, readiness for cessation of drug use was associated with speedball injection and previous enrollment in drug treatment but not with NEP attendance. NEP attenders, although exhibiting characteristics consistent with more severe drug dependence, were as motivated for cessation of drug use as were nonattenders. These findings suggest that formal collaboration between NEPs and drug treatment programs could increase the proportion of IDUs in treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-237
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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