Summary:In October 1995, community attitudes toward needle exchange programs were assessed in Baltimore, Maryland. Household interviews were conducted with a random sample of residents living within six contiguous census tracts. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine which factors were independently associated with acceptance of needle exchange programs. Of 274 eligible respondents contacted, 138 (50%) completed the interview. Respondents were statistically similar to the 1990 census population by income but were more likely to be female, black, between the ages of 35 and 44 years, and to have attended college or be a college graduate. Although 72% of respondents thought needle exchange programs would attract injection drug users to the neighborhood, 65% favored needle exchange, and 47% favored selling needles in a pharmacy without a prescription. Factors independently associated with acceptance of needle exchange programs included the perceptions that needle exchange programs decrease the number of discarded needles on the street, that needle exchange programs do not encourage a person's injection drug use, and that needle exchange programs decrease HIV incidence. Despite concern about attracting injection drug users to the neighborhood, support for needle exchange programs was high.
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