Injection drug users' perceptions regarding use of a medically supervised safer injecting facility

Addict Behav. 2007 May;32(5):1088-93. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2006.07.013. Epub 2006 Aug 22.


Background: In recent years, there has been increased interest in supervised safer injecting facilities (SIF) as a strategy to reduce the harms of illicit drug use; however, little work has been done to assess drug users' satisfaction with this service. This study was undertaken to explore injection drug users' experiences and opinions regarding North America's first SIF in Vancouver, Canada.

Methods: Injection drug users (IDU) were randomly recruited from within the Vancouver SIF and invited to enroll in the Scientific Evaluation of Supervised Injecting (SEOSI) cohort. For the present study, participants were then surveyed regarding their experiences and beliefs regarding the SIF.

Results: Of 1082 IDU surveyed, 809 (75%) reported that their injecting behavior had changed as a result of using the SIF. Among these individuals, 80% indicated that the SIF had resulted in less rushed injecting, 71% indicated that the SIF had led to less outdoor injecting and 56% reported less unsafe syringe disposal. The three most common features always or usually limiting IDU's use of the SIF were: travel to the SIF (12%), limited operating hours (7%), and waiting times to access the SIF (5%). When asked in what ways the SIF might be improved, the three most common suggestions were: longer hours of operation (53%), addition of a washroom (51%), and reduced waiting times (46%).

Conclusions: Many IDU reported changes in their injecting behaviors that have important implications for community and public health. Addressing a number of programmatic issues related to operating hours and waiting times, and the provision of additional amenities within SIF, may help to further improve their impact.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • British Columbia / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Community Health Centers*
  • Female
  • Harm Reduction
  • Health Facilities
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Perception
  • Risk-Taking
  • Safety
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / epidemiology
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / psychology*
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / rehabilitation
  • Time Factors