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Journal Article


Neale J, Tompkins C, Sheard L. Health Soc. Care Community 2008; 16(2): 147-154.


(Copyright © 2008, John Wiley and Sons)






While research has clearly documented the difficulties injectors encounter in accessing specialist addiction services, there is less evidence of the problems they face when securing general health care and non-substance-misuse-specific support. This paper seeks to fill some of these knowledge gaps. Between January and May 2006, 75 current injectors were recruited and interviewed through three needle exchange programmes located in diverse geographical areas of West Yorkshire. Interview data were transcribed verbatim and analysed using Framework. Findings showed that injectors were often positive about the help they received from generic health and social care services. Nonetheless, they identified a range of barriers relating to inability to access desired assistance, the burden of appointments, travel to services, stigma and negative staff attitudes, personal ill-health, lack of material resources, and anxieties about accessing support. Although some types of barriers were more evident at some services than at others and/or affected particular subgroups of injector more than others, the impact of any barrier was contingent on a range of factors. These included the attitudes of individual professionals, the circumstances and needs of individual injectors, the local availability of suitable alternative services, and the frequency with which a service needed to be accessed. In order to better understand and potentially reduce service barriers, findings are linked to broader conceptual and theoretical debates relating to social exclusion and Foucault's analyses of power and knowledge.


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