Evid Based Nurs 11:28 doi:10.1136/ebn.11.1.28
  • Qualitative

The experience of injecting drugs in public spaces was characterised by urgency, a need for privacy, hygienic concerns, and a sense of shame

T Rhodes

Correspondence to: Dr T Rhodes, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK;


What is the lived experience of injecting drugs in public places and the social and structural factors that affect access to syringe distribution services?


Qualitative study.


6 urban, semi-rural, and rural areas in south Wales, UK.


A purposive sample of 49 people (age range 18–47 y, 69% men) who were current injecting drug users (had injected drugs in the past 4 wks; mean duration 7.2 y).


49 individual semi-structured interviews were held, each lasting 30–90 minutes. Topics included injecting equipment use, access, and availability; injecting locations; and health and service needs and experiences. Interviews were tape recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed from a perspective of interpretive critical realism.


Public injecting. Participants described public injecting as a situational need rather than a choice. Injecting was viewed as a private behaviour, preferably done in non-public environments, which were also associated with cleanliness. Situational factors leading to public injecting were opportunity (“If I’m out, and they say ‘Oh …

Free Sample

This recent issue is free to all users to allow everyone the opportunity to see the full scope and typical content of EBN.
View free sample issue >>

EBN Journal Chat

The EBN Journal Chat offers readers the opportunity to participate in discussion about research articles and commentaries from Evidence Based Nursing (EBN).

How to participate >>

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the articles as they are published.

Navigate This Article