Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Social Work

Degree Program

Social Work, PhD

Committee Chair

Collins-Camargo, Crysal

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Golder, Seana

Committee Member

Golder, Seana

Committee Member

Hall, Martin

Committee Member

Harris, Leslie

Committee Member

Wendel, Monica

Author's Keywords

needle exchange program; syringe exchange program; harm reduction; harm reduction programs


As the opioid epidemic lingers on across the country, many areas have set up harm reduction strategies such as needle exchange programs (NEPs) to combat the long-term consequences of injection drug use (IDU). Males and females face a plethora of health issues associated with injection drug use such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C. While males comprise the largest portion of the injection drug use population, most research is gender neutral, which makes it difficult to discern issues specifically related to females inhibiting our ability to design interventions and procedures targeted to address their needs. Females require varying reproductive health needs, prenatal healthcare services and childcare. The research explores service provider perspectives on facilitators and barriers to needle exchange program participation by females who inject drugs. The study is descriptive and exploratory in nature using survey methodology. Data was collected from mailed surveys to needle exchange program staff from Kentucky and the seven bordering states (Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia). Exchange theory, the health belief model and feminist theory and intersectionality were used as the theoretical frameworks to explain human behavior and what motivates people who inject drugs to utilize needle exchange programs. Determining the facilitators and barriers females face in accessing needle exchange programs will allow for revisions in service delivery and policy changes to promote increased utilization of services by females who inject drugs.

Included in

Social Work Commons