The tacoma syringe exchange

Holly Hagan, Don C. Des Jarlais, David Purchase, Terry Reid, Samuel R. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For over a year, the Tacoma Syringe Exchange has been operating in spite of existing drug paraphernalia laws. One hundred fifty-four subjects have been interviewed regarding drug injection practices for the month prior to first use of the exchange and for the most recent month since using the exchange. Statistically significant reductions in mean frequency of obtaining used syringes, and in mean rate of passing on used syringes, have been reported. Mean number of times bleach was used to disinfect contaminated syringes has risen. The exchange continues to attract mainly men, median age 35, with a long history of injection. No differences have been observed in mean number of injections per month. In order to increase utilization, new sites are planned, but expansion has been hampered by a series of legal problems. Since the exchange draws many difficult to reach individuals, it is an important location for STD screening and drug treatment recruitment. Documentation of participation patterns and barriers to exchange use, and effects upon HIV serological status are recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Addictive Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 5 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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