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A Legal Analysis of Prescribing and Dispensing Sterile Injection Equipment to Patients Who Use Illegal Drugs

Principal Investigator: Scott Burris, J.D. , Professor of Law
Publications Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Vernick J.S., Burris S., Strathdee S.A.
Article Title: Public opinion about syringe exchange programs in the USA: an analysis of national surveys
Journal: International Journal of Drug Policy
Volume/Issue/Pages: 14, 5-6: 431-435
Year: 2003
Abstract:
Background: Despite scientific evidence demonstrating their effectiveness, syringe exchange programs (SEPs) have not been as widely embraced by policy-makers in the USA as in some other nations. One reason for this disjunction between science and policy may be the effect of public opinion. Methods: To better understand the role of public opinion in shaping SEP policies, we undertook a systematic search for all reported U.S. national surveys asking about support or opposition to SEPs. Relevant polls were identified through a national database of public opinion questions, and a similar search of a newspaper database. We present the survey findings. The wording of poll questions and the agenda of organisations sponsoring the polls are also examined. Results: Twenty-one questions from 14 different polls conducted from 1987 to 2000 were identified. Support for SEPs ranged from 29 to 66%. Surveys conducted by organisations with a public health agenda were more likely to suggest support for SEPs than those sponsored by organisations with a "family values" perspective. Question wording appeared to strongly influence support for SEPs. Poll questions that referred to "drug addicts" were less likely to indicate majority support for SEPs than those that avoided loaded terms or that provided public health information to respondents. Discussion: Public opinion regarding SEPs is very malleable, strongly affected by question wording or other biases of organisations sponsoring the polls. Therefore, there may be no clear national consensus on the desirability of SEPs. Our findings are particularly relevant for national policy, such as federal funding for SEPs.
Publications Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Burris S., Lurie P., Abrahamson D., Rich J.D.
Article Title: Physician prescription of sterile injection equipment to prevent HIV infection: Time for action
Journal: Annals of Internal Medicine
Volume/Issue/Pages: 135, 4: 218
Year: 2001
Abstract:
Injection drug users, their sex partners, and their children are at high risk for acquiring HIV infection and other bloodborne diseases. The risk for disease transmission in the United States is partly the result of restricted access to sterile injection equipment. Physicians and pharmacists can play an important role in providing syringe access by prescribing and dispensing syringes to patients who use injection drugs and cannot or will not enter drug treatment Prescribing and dispensing injection equipment are ethical, clinically appropriate, and fully consistent with current public health guidelines on disease prevention. An analysis of the laws of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico finds that physicians in nearly all these jurisdictions may legally prescribe sterile injection equipment to prevent disease transmission among drug-using patients and that pharmacists in most states have a clear or reasonable legal basis for filling the prescriptions. Given these medical and legal findings, physicians may wish to take a larger role in improving access to sterile injection equipment by prescribing this equipment for their patients where this practice is legal, and by joining efforts to change the law where it poses a barrier.
Publications Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Burris S.
Article Title: Introduction: Ask, tell, help
Journal: Health Matrix Journal of Law and Medicine
Volume/Issue/Pages: 11, 1: 1
Year: 2001
Abstract:
No abstract available.
Publications Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Burris S., Lurie P., Ng M.
Article Title: Harm reduction in the health care system: The legality of prescribing and dispensing sterile injection equipment to drug users
Journal: Health Matrix Journal of Law and Medicine
Volume/Issue/Pages: 11, 1: 5-64
Year: 2001
Abstract:
No abstract available.
Publications Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Abrahamson D.
Article Title: Federal law and syringe prescription and dispensing
Journal: Health Matrix Journal of Law and Medicine
Volume/Issue/Pages: 11, 1: 65
Year: 2001
Abstract:
No abstract available.
Publications Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Lazzarini Z.
Article Title: An analysis of ethical Issues in prescribing and dispensing syringes to injection drug users
Journal: Health Matrix Journal of Law and Medicine
Volume/Issue/Pages: 11, 1: 85
Year: 2001
Abstract:
No abstract available.

 
   
 
 
     
   
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