Supervised injection facilities (SIFs) provide spaces where persons who inject drugs (PWID) can inject under medical supervision and access harm reductions services. Though SIFs are not formally established in the US, such facilities are being considered for approval in several New York State (NYS) communities. No data exists from PWID in NYS, and little from outside major US urban centers, on willingness to use SIFs and associated factors.
This analysis included 285 PWID (mean age=38.7; 57.7% male; 72.3% non-Hispanic white) recruited for a study on hepatitis C prevalence among PWID in Upstate New York, where participants were recruited from syringe exchange programs (n=80) and able to refer other PWID from their injection networks (n=223). Participants completed an electronic questionnaire that included a brief description of SIFs and assessed willingness to use SIFs. We compared sociodemographic characteristics, drug use/harm reduction history, healthcare experience, and stigma between participants who were willing vs. unwilling to use such programs.
Overall, 67.4% were willing to use SIFs, 18.3% unwilling, and 14.4% unsure. Among those reporting being willing or unwilling, we found higher willingness among those who were currently homeless (91.8% vs. 74.6%; p=0.004), who had interacted with police in the past 12 months (85.7% vs. 74.5%; p=0.04), and who were refused service within a healthcare setting (100% vs. 77.1%; p=0.03).
Our results support SIF acceptability in several Upstate New York PWID communities, particularly among those reporting feelings of marginalization. A large proportion reported being unsure about usage of SIFs, suggesting room for educating PWID on the potential benefits of this service. Our results support SIF acceptability in NYS and may facilitate reaching PWID subgroups that are most marginalized, should SIFs become available.