High willingness to use overdose prevention sites among female sex workers in Baltimore, Maryland

Saba Rouhani, Rebecca Hamilton White, Ju Nyeong Park, Susan G. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Overdose Prevention Sites (OPS) operate worldwide as spaces where people can consume previously purchased drugs under supervision, and are linked to reductions in HIV/HCV transmission and fatal overdoses. As the United States weighs their merits and legality, research is needed to estimate acceptability and use among populations at high risk for overdose. We examine willingness to use OPS among street-based female sex workers (FSW) with prevalent drug use and associated morbidities. Methods: We describe self-reported willingness, barriers and conditions around use of a hypothetical OPS among 141 FSW engaged in active drug use in Baltimore City, and describe trends using Pearson's χ2 and Fisher's exact tests. Results: Most women had history of overdose (55 %) and were likely to use OPS (77 %). Willingness was higher among women who: were sexual minorities (97 %;P=0.002),experienced homelessness (82 %;P=0.019), injected drugs (82 %;P=0.013), shared syringes (82 %;P=0.007), experienced sexual violence (92 %;P=0.045) or reported heroin use (83 %;P=0.039) in the past 3 months. Common anticipated barriers included transportation (45 %) and fear of arrest (41 %). Conclusions: This study highlights a population of uniquely high-risk women who would benefit from an OPS integrated with other services. Conditions and barriers discussed are informative for planning and implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108042
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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