MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Brett Wolfson-Stofko, PhD Post-Doctoral Fellow
Behavioral Science Training Program
Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research
Rory Meyers College of Nursing
New York University New York, NY 10003
Research Associate Institute for Special Populations
National Development & Research Institutes, Inc.
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Drug overdose mortality rates per year continue to rise in the US. Previous research suggests that public bathrooms are among the most popular public injection locations for people who inject drugs (PWID) in New York City. Though syringe exchange programs provide sterile injection equipment they are not authorized to offer a safe and sanitary space for injection which leads many, particularly those that are unstably housed, to inject in public spaces. This study interviewed 86 business managers throughout NYC and 58% (n = 50) of these managers had encountered drug use in their business bathroom within the past 6 months. Over one-third found improperly disposed syringes and 14% encountered unresponsive individuals. Only 10% of managers reported some form of overdose recognition and naloxone training while 64% of managers thought overdose recognition and naloxone training would be useful for them and their staff.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Many people who inject drugs do not a have a safe, private space to inject and resort to injecting in public places such as business bathrooms. Business managers are not properly trained to respond to overdoses and that the presence of improperly disposed syringes places managers, staff, PWID, and customers at risk for needle sticks and potentially HIV, HCV, and HBV.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Future research on this issue could focus on the acceptability and feasibility of training business managers and staff on how to recognize an overdose and how to administer naloxone as well as training on proper sharps disposal and the installation of sharps containers in business bathrooms. This work could also be expanded to other cities as well as to suburban and rural communities. It is also worth investigating interventions, such as supervised injection facilities (SIF), that provide a legally sanctioned space for people to inject drugs under the supervision of medical staff which have the potential to prevent public injection, improper disposal of syringes, overdose deaths, and the spread of infectious disease.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: I would like to thank all of my collaborators for all their guidance and assistance and MedicalResearch.com for their interest in our work and this opportunity for further dissemination.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Brett Wolfson-Stofko, Alex S. Bennett, Luther Elliott, Ric Curtis. Drug use in business bathrooms: An exploratory study of manager encounters in New York City. International Journal of Drug Policy, 2017; 39: 69 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2016.08.014
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