Situational factors influencing drug injecting, risk reduction and syringe exchange in Togliatti City, Russian Federation: A qualitative study of micro risk environment

Tim Rhodes*, Larissa Mikhailova, Anya Sarang, Catherine Lowndes, Andrey Rylkov, Mikhail Khutorskoy, Adrian Renton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

200 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We undertook a qualitative study to explore the micro-environment of drug injecting, risk reduction and syringe exchange practices among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Togliatti City, Russia. Semi-structured qualitative interviews (n=57) were undertaken with current IDUs in May 2001. Findings highlight a recent transition away from hanka (a home-produced liquid opiate derived from opium poppy) towards the injection of heroin powder, and a drug use culture in which injecting predominates. Findings emphasise that risk reduction practices may be influenced less by availability of injecting equipment than by an interplay of situational and micro-environmental factors. Principal among these is a reported fear of police detainment or arrest among IDUs which encourages a reluctance to carry needles and syringes, and which in turn, is associated with needle and syringe sharing at the point of drug sale. We note the role of policing practices in influencing risk reduction and the potential role of policing agencies in supporting HIV prevention initiatives among IDUs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-54
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the support of the UK Department for International Development who provided funds for this study as part of a project to enhance HIV prevention for injecting drug users in the Russian Federation. We would also like to express our gratitude to the Togliatti City Department of Health, to the Togliatti Project Coordination Group, to the Togliatti Narcology Outreach Workers, and to the following individuals: Michael Borowitz; Dawn Lindsay; Jean-Paul Grund; Marina Klimova; Veronica Petrova; Yuri Pevzner; Alexander Shakhov; Mikhail Tichanov; Anne von Bennigsen; Samantha Yates; Nadya Zabotina; Elvira Zhukova. Dave Burrows; Lucy Platt; Chris Finch.

Keywords

  • HIV prevention
  • Injection drug use
  • Police
  • Risk environment
  • Russia

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