Would you consider prescribing syringes to injection drug users? Addiction medicine conference survey

Lynn E. Taylor, Valgerdur Runarsdottir, Amy Zampi, Albert Osei, Stephanie Sanford, Grace Macalino, Michelle McKenzie, Scott Burris, Merik Gross, Steven E. Reinert, Josiah D. Rich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In order to assess attitudes and practices of physicians regarding prescribing syringes to injection drug users (IDUs) to prevent disease transmission, a survey was conducted at the 2000 ASAM Conference. Of 497 physicians, 104 responded, representing 30 states and 3 countries. Seventy-eight percent provided care for IDUs. Only 2% had prescribed syringes to IDUs for safer injection of illegal drugs. Nineteen percent had prescribed syringes to diabetic patients whom they believed would use the syringes for injecting illegal drugs. Overall, 61% of physicians (74% of internists, 37% of psychiatrists) (p = 0.04) would consider prescribing syringes to IDUs. Prescribing syringes to IDUs can be part of a comprehensive approach to preventing spread of HIV and other infections, decreasing complications of syringe reuse, and bringing IDUs into medical and substance abuse treatment. The majority of physicians surveyed expressed interest in prescribing syringes. Psychiatrists may be less willing to do so.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-78
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Addictive Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Hepatitis B/C
  • Injection drug users
  • Physician survey
  • Syringe prescription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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