The impact of harm reduction programs and police interventions on the number of syringes collected from public spaces. A time series analysis in Barcelona, 2004–2014

A. Espelt, J. R. Villalbí, M. Bosque-Prous, O. Parés-Badell, M. Mari-Dell'Olmo, M. T. Brugal

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5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2017 Elsevier B.V. Background To estimate the effect of opening two services for people who use drugs and three police interventions on the number of discarded syringes collected from public spaces in Barcelona between 2004 and 2014. Methods We conducted an interrupted time-series analysis of the monthly number of syringes collected from public spaces during this period. The dependent variable was the number of syringes collected per month. The main independent variables were month and five dummy variables (the opening of two facilities with safe consumption rooms, and three police interventions). To examine which interventions affected the number of syringes collected, we performed an interrupted time-series analysis using a quasi-Poisson regression model, obtaining relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results The number of syringes collected per month in Barcelona decreased from 13,800 in 2004 to 1655 in 2014 after several interventions. For example, following the closure of an open drug scene in District A of the city, we observed a decreasing trend in the number of syringes collected [RR = 0.88 (95% CI: 0.82–0.95)], but an increasing trend in the remaining districts [RR = 1.11 (95% CI: 1.05–1.17) and 1.08 (95% CI: 0.99–1.18) for districts B and C, respectively]. Following the opening of a harm reduction facility in District C, we observed an initial increase in the number collected in this district [RR = 2.72 (95% CI: 1.57–4.71)] and stabilization of the trend thereafter [RR = 0.97 (95% CI: 0.91–1.03)]. Conclusion The overall number of discarded syringes collected from public spaces has decreased consistently in parallel with a combination of police interventions and the opening of harm reduction facilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-18
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Volume50
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

Keywords

  • Harm reduction
  • Intravenous drug misuse
  • Program evaluation
  • Public health
  • Syringes

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