Extrajudicial police arrests of HIV-positive drug users may contribute to increased risks of overdose and disease transmission among arrestees, according to a new study by researchers at Boston University and Russia's St. Petersburg Pavlov State University.
Researchers for the study, which was published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society, surveyed 700 HIV-positive St. Petersburg residents, and focused on the 582 who reported injecting heroin at some point in their lives.
Those who reported extrajudicial arrests for offenses such as carrying a syringe (or, in some cases, respondents claimed police planted syringes or drugs) were more likely to overdose or share needles, increasing HIV transmission.
The survey also found no indication that police arrests reduce drug use.
“These findings support the assertion that punitive drug law enforcement practices contribute to the HIV risk environment,” the study's authors wrote.
To download the full study, click HERE.