Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 113–120

Telephone survey of Alaskan pharmacists' nonprescription needle-selling practices


  • Colin R. Harbke
    • IVDU ProjectUniversity of Alaska Anchorage
    • IVDU ProjectUniversity of Alaska Anchorage
  • Henry H. Cagle
    • IVDU ProjectUniversity of Alaska Anchorage
  • Beth N. Trubatch
    • IVDU ProjectUniversity of Alaska Anchorage
  • Andrea M. Fenaughty
    • IVDU ProjectUniversity of Alaska Anchorage
  • Mark E. Johnson
    • IVDU ProjectUniversity of Alaska Anchorage
Original Articles: Various Topics

DOI: 10.1007/BF02350967

Cite this article as:
Harbke, C.R., Fisher, D.G., Cagle, H.H. et al. J Urban Health (2000) 77: 113. doi:10.1007/BF02350967



To determine the availability of nonprescription needles and syringes (NS) through pharmacy sales and to assess the impact of pharmacy policies and municipal paraphernalia laws on pharmacists' selling practices.


Telephone survey of all pharmacies in Alaska's four largest cities.


Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Ketchikan, Alaska.


A single pharmacist from each pharmacy represented in the cities' phone books.

Main Outcome Measures

Reports of (1) pharmacies' policies and individual pharmacists' procedures regarding the nonprescription sale of NS, (2) pharmacists' selling practices, and (3) identification of conditions that may affect pharmacists' decisions to sell nonprescription NS.


Response rate of 86% (37/43); 77% of pharmacists reported selling at least one nonprescription NS in the last month. Store policy was related to selling practices; however, there was no difference in selling practices between a city with a paraphernalia law and cities without such laws. Logistic regression revealed pharmacists were more likely to sell NS if they worked in chain pharmacies and estimated that a high number of other local pharmacists sell nonprescription NS.


NS are available through nonprescription sales in Alaskan pharmacies. The majority of pharmacies have store policies that permit pharmacists to sell nonprescription NS, either in all cases or at their discretion. Municipal paraphernalia laws do not determine the selling practices of individual pharmacists.

Copyright information

© The New York academy of medicine 2000