Syringe disposal among injection drug users in San Francisco

Am J Public Health. 2011 Mar;101(3):484-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.179531. Epub 2010 May 13.


To assess the prevalence of improperly discarded syringes and to examine syringe disposal practices of injection drug users (IDUs) in San Francisco, we visually inspected 1000 random city blocks and conducted a survey of 602 IDUs. We found 20 syringes on the streets we inspected. IDUs reported disposing of 13% of syringes improperly. In multivariate analysis, obtaining syringes from syringe exchange programs was found to be protective against improper disposal, and injecting in public places was predictive of improper disposal. Few syringes posed a public health threat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Humans
  • Medical Waste Disposal / methods*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Needlestick Injuries / epidemiology
  • San Francisco / epidemiology
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / epidemiology*
  • Syringes*


  • Medical Waste Disposal