Syringe reuse among people who inject drugs in rural Appalachian Kentucky

Tasfia Jahangir, Grayson K. Fuller, Melvin D. Livingston, Edward Freeman, Laura C. Fanucchi, Amanda Fallin-Bennett, Hannah L.F. Cooper, April Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Personal syringe reuse (i.e., reuse of one's own syringes) can place people who inject drugs at increased risk for infectious disease but has received relatively little attention in published literature. The purpose of this study is to identify factors associated with syringe reuse among people who inject drugs in rural Kentucky. Methods: Participants (n = 238) completed interviewer-administered questionnaires on syringe reuse and demographic, behavioral, and service access characteristics. Unadjusted negative binomial regression with cluster-robust standard errors was used to model the associations with a logged offset for number of injections in the past 30 days. Results: The average age of the sample was 35 and 59.7 % were male. Most participants (77.7 %) reused syringes at least once in the past 30 days, using each syringe a median of three times. Reuse was higher among those who were older and reported a higher street price for syringes. Syringe reuse was lower among people who were within walking distance to a syringe service program (SSP) and who obtained most of their syringes from SSPs or pharmacies. Conclusion: Syringe reuse among people who inject drugs in rural Kentucky is common. However, these data suggest that increased access to syringes from SSPs and pharmacies, as well as policy-level interventions that reduce street syringe price, might reduce syringe reuse and related harms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104422
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
StatePublished - Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier B.V.


  • Injection drug use
  • Needle reuse
  • Rural
  • Syringe reuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy


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