Legal needle buying in St. Louis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


This study sought to determine if and why barriers to the over-the-counter purchase of syringes in the St. Louis metropolitan area might exist, given that no ordinance prohibits such a sale there. Two male research assistants (one African American, one White) approached 33 of the area's pharmacies to buy syringes. In 14 of those pharmacies, either the purchase was refused or the minimum number of syringes that could be bought was so large (at least 100) that the sale was not practical. Racial bias in rates of refusal and implications for prohibiting or restricting legal availability of syringes are discussed.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Compton, W. M., Cottler, L. B., Decker, S., Mager, D., & Stringfellow, R. (1992). Legal needle buying in St. Louis. American Journal of Public Health, 82(4), 595-596.