Interactive Versus Video-Based Training of Police to Communicate Syringe Legality to People Who Inject Drugs: The SHIELD Study, Mexico, 2015-2016


Objectives. To assess how instructional techniques affect officers' intent to communicate syringe legality during searches in Tijuana, Mexico, where pervasive syringe confiscation potentiates risk of HIV and HCV among people who inject drugs (PWID) and of occupational needle-stick injury among police.

Methods. Using the SHIELD (Safety and Health Integration in the Enforcement of Laws on Drugs) model, Tijuana police underwent training to encourage communication of syringe possession legality to PWID. Trainees received either passive video or interactive role-play exercise on safer search techniques. We used logistic regression to assess the training's impact on self-reported intent to communicate syringe legality by training type and gender.

Results. Officers (n = 1749) were mostly men (86%) assigned to patrol (84%). After the training, intent to communicate the law improved markedly: from 20% to 39% (video group) and 20% to 58% (interactive group). Gender and training type significantly predicted intent to communicate syringe legality. Male and female officers' adjusted odds ratios in the interactive group were 5.37 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 4.56, 6.33) and 9.16 (95% CI = 5.88, 14.28), respectively, after the training.

Conclusions. To more effectively persuade police to endorse harm reduction and occupational safety practices, police trainings should include interactive elements.


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