Social context of needle selling in Baltimore, Maryland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Although much of the debate surrounding the distribution of sterile syringes to injection drug users (IDUs) has focused on needle exchange programs (NEPs), IDUs acquire their syringes from three major sources: NEPs, pharmacies, and secondary exchangers or needle sellers. The purpose of the present study is to examine types and frequencies of social interactions among drug injectors who sell needles, most of which come from NEPs, compared with individuals who do not sell needles. Specifically, we compared engagement in drug-related behaviors, roles in the drug economy, and social network membership. Data were collected as part of the SHIELD study, an HIV prevention intervention targeted at drug users and their social networks (n = 910) from February 2001 through September 2003 in Baltimore, Maryland (USA). In this sample, 56 participants reported selling needles. Needle sellers had higher levels of engagement in drug-related social interactions, including using drugs with others, giving or receiving drugs from others, and buying drugs with other users. Participants who sold needles had a significantly higher number of roles in the drug economy. Also, they had more social network members who were injectors, with whom they talked about risky drug behaviors, gave needles to, and shared cookers and bleach with. Compared with nonselling injectors, needle sellers engage in HIV risk-related behaviors, such as injecting daily and sharing injection equipment, more frequently. The study's findings may be useful to determine whether secondary exchangers should be targeted for HIV prevention activities both to reduce their own risk and to diffuse risk reduction information throughout the drug using community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)901-913
Number of pages13
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Volume41
Issue number6-7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

Fingerprint

Baltimore
selling
Needles
drug
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Needle-Exchange Programs
Drug Users
Social Support
Syringes
HIV
Interpersonal Relations
social network
Injections
Pharmacies
Risk Reduction Behavior
role behavior
economy
interaction
Equipment and Supplies

Keywords

  • Drug economy
  • Harm reduction, HIV/AIDS
  • Injection drug use
  • Needle sellers
  • Risky drug behaviors
  • Secondary exchangers
  • Social network
  • Syringe exchange

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Social context of needle selling in Baltimore, Maryland. / Latkin, Carl A; Davey-Rothwell, Melissa; Hua, Wei.

In: Substance Use and Misuse, Vol. 41, No. 6-7, 2006, p. 901-913.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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