Against the Odds: Syringe Exchange Policy Implementation in Indiana

Beth E. Meyerson, Carrie A. Lawrence, Laura Miller, Anthony Gillespie, Daniel Raymond, Kristen Kelley, D. J. Shannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Indiana recently passed legislation allowing local governments to establish syringe exchanges. While the effectiveness of syringe exchange programming is established, there is a dearth of studies about associated policy adoption and implementation. This study documents the experiences of 24 Indiana counties engaged in the process of establishing syringe exchange programming under new state law. A mixed method, qualitative, exploratory case study was conducted from May 2015 to April 2016. We observed rapid and widespread policy adoption interest, and yet counties reported significant policy ambiguity, epidemiologic and resource capacity issues. The emergence of health commons involving information and tangible resource sharing networks allowed institutional rearrangement in the midst of resource scarcity; however, such rearrangement appeared to be a central threat to policy adoption and implementation given state structural barriers. The emerging commons could be a critical policy success factor, as it would achieve efficiencies not possible in the current resource environment, and can help achieve institutional rearrangement for the improvement of population health. Several recommendations for improvement are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)973-981
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV
  • Health commons
  • Local government
  • Syringe exchange
  • hepatitis C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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