Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 2019


Objective: In 2018, over 586,000 US citizens were reported to be addicted to intravenous heroin. It was reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that in 2017, 70,237 people ages 25 years to over 65 years died from a drug overdose in the United States; analogous to roughly the number of people residing in Portland, Maine. Needle exchange programs have been found to be effective at reducing needlestick injuries in the community, reducing associated health care costs and improving the short-term and long-term health of people who use injection drugs (PWUID). Of all health care providers, emergency department nurses who work in the emergency department are most likely to provide care to PWUID and have the opportunity to provide resources and compassionate care for individuals struggling with injection drug use, thus they are uniquely positioned to inform PWUID of the availability and benefits of needle exchange programs. The purpose of this study is to describe the perceptions of emergency department nurses regarding the needle exchange program in Bangor, Maine and to see how to increase the utilization of NEPs.

Methods: An anonymous survey to determine perceptions of needle exchange facilities was distributed to emergency department nurses (ED) in Bangor, Maine. There are 75 nurses in total who work in the ED in one hospital in Bangor, ME and out of these 75, nine surveys (12 %) were returned. One nurse did leave their contact information to set up an interview, however the interview was not able to take place due the inability to get in contact with them.

Included in

Nursing Commons