Friday, April 15, 2016

The impact of an automatic syringe dispensing machine in inner-city Sydney, Australia: No evidence of a 'honey-pot' effect

Needle and syringe automatic dispensing machines (ADM) aim to increase needle/syringe distribution to people who inject drugs. ADM implementation has been met with community concern about potential perceived increases in crime and drug use and that they will attract non-resident drug users-the 'honey-pot effect'. In April 2013, an ADM commenced operation in inner-city Sydney. We assessed the impact of the ADM on crime and examined its use by non-resident drug users (the honey-pot effect).

Fixed-site needle and syringe program (n = 207) and ADM clients (n = 55) were surveyed to determine whether they lived within 1 km of the ADM. Police-recorded offences between January 2012 and March 2014 across six crime categories for the local and surrounding areas were assessed for trend to measure impact on crime.

The majority (78%) of needle and syringe program clients reported residing within 1 km of the service. Most (95%) ADM users were fixed-site service clients. The 2 year trend for crime categories remained stable or decreased, except for fraud, which increased significantly (P < 0.05).

Automatic dispensing machine users were largely clients of the existing fixed-site service and lived locally. There was no apparent concurrent increase in crime or a honey-pot effect. It is important that services continue to be aware of community concerns and respond to them appropriate

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By:  Grau LE1Zhan W1,2Heimer R1.
  • 1Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, USA.
  • 2Department of Children and Families, Hartford, USA. 
  •  2016 Apr 13. doi: 10.1111/dar.12396

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