The decision to initiate a syringe service program or expand to a supervised use site is often influenced by local public support or opposition.
The purpose of this study was to better understand public attitudes to local syringe service programs to inform the possibility of expanding services.
Design, Setting, and Participants:
We surveyed a sample of registered voters (n = 690) in the 8 counties in the state of Colorado with existing syringe service programs.
Main Outcome Measures:
Respondents were asked about their awareness of and attitudes toward syringe service programs and supervised use sites.
More than three-fourths of respondents reported they were familiar with syringe service programs, but only a quarter knew they were legal, despite all survey respondents living near an operating program. Nearly one in 3 respondents thought a syringe service program or a supervised use site makes a community better, and a majority (57%) thought supervised use sites should be legal in their state. There were significant differences in attitudes toward the benefits and risks of syringe service programs by political party affiliation.
Understanding the level of community knowledge and support for syringe service programs, as well as the reasons for opposition, can be helpful in addressing community concerns when seeking to initiate or expand services.