Drug-related arrest rates and spatial access to syringe exchange programs in New York City health districts: Combined effects on the risk of injection-related infections among injectors

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Abstract

Drug-related law enforcement activities may undermine the protective effects of syringe exchange programs (SEPs) on local injectors' risk of injection-related infections. We explored the spatial overlap of drug-related arrest rates and access to SEPs over time (1995–2006) in New York City health districts, and used multilevel models to investigate the relationship of these two district-level exposures to the odds of injecting with an unsterile syringe. Districts with better SEP access had higher arrest rates, and arrest rates undermined SEPs' protective relationship with unsterile injecting. Drug-related enforcement strategies targeting drug users should be de-emphasized in areas surrounding SEPs.

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