Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 81, Issue 4, pp 661–670 | Cite as

A multistate trial of pharmacy syringe purchase

  • Wilson M. ComptonEmail author
  • Joe C. Horton
  • Linda B. Cottler
  • Robert Booth
  • Carl G. Leukefeld
  • Merrill Singer
  • Rence Cunningham-Williams
  • Wendy Reich
  • Karen Fortuin Corsi
  • Michele Staton
  • Joseph L. Fink
  • Thomas J. Stopka
  • Edward L. Spitznagel


Pharmacies are a potential site for access to sterile syringes as a means for preventing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but the type and extent of their utility is uncertain. To examine pharmacy syringe purchase, we conducted a standardized, multistate study in urban and rural areas of four states in which attempts to purchase syringes were documented. Of 1,600 overall purchase attempts, 35% were refused. Colorado (25%) and Connecticut (28%) had significantly lower rates of refusal than Kentucky (41%) and Missouri (47%). Furthermore, urban settings had higher rates of refusal (40%) than rural settings (31%, P<.01). Race and gender did not have a consistent impact on rates of refusal. Despite potential advantages of pharmacies as sites for access to sterile syringes, pharmacy purchase of syringes faces significant obstacles in terms of the practices in different jurisdictions.


HIV/AIDS prevention Injection drug use Pharmacies Syringe purchase 


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wilson M. Compton
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joe C. Horton
    • 2
  • Linda B. Cottler
    • 3
  • Robert Booth
    • 4
  • Carl G. Leukefeld
    • 5
  • Merrill Singer
    • 6
  • Rence Cunningham-Williams
    • 2
  • Wendy Reich
    • 2
  • Karen Fortuin Corsi
    • 4
  • Michele Staton
    • 5
  • Joseph L. Fink
    • 5
  • Thomas J. Stopka
    • 7
  • Edward L. Spitznagel
    • 2
  1. 1.National Institute on Drug AbuseBethesda
  2. 2.Entrenar Inc.St. Louis
  3. 3.Washington UniversitySt. Louis
  4. 4.University of KentuckyLexington
  5. 5.University of KentuckyLexington
  6. 6.Hispanic Research CouncilHartford
  7. 7.Office of AIDS, California Department of Health ServicesSacramento

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