International study of drug use and HIV derives much of its value from affording investigators opportunities to compare similar behaviors in contrasting cultural contexts. In these contrasting cultural contexts, people entrusted with conducting police work and minimizing crime have ways of conducting their business that may or may not interfere with research on illegal or socially disapproved behaviors. Two cases illustrate interactions between well-meaning researchers and local authorities. In both, investigations benefited from having laid groundwork for local endorsement of study activities. Research on marijuana smoking in Costa Rica enjoyed strong cooperation from the Ministry of Health, but not so strong from the Ministry of Security because of a fledgling office of Narcotics. Studies of HIV risk among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Valencia, Spain, encountered no problems with police but noted dangers of low drug enforcement. Five principles of preparing for international research may help investigators to anticipate some varieties of contextual obstructions to research outside the United States.
- Drug use
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health