A key part of reducing harm from injected opioid use is syringe services programs (SSPs), also known as needle exchange programs. SSPs are community-based programs that provide access to sterile needles and syringes, facilitate safe disposal of used syringes, and provide and link to other important services.
About Syringe Services Programs
Although this idea of SSPs has been controversial in the past, according to the Center For Disease Control (CDC):
“Nearly 30 years of research has shown that comprehensive SSPs are safe, effective, and cost-saving, do not increase illegal drug use or crime, and play an important role in reducing the transmission of viral hepatitis, HIV and other infections. Research shows that new users of SSPs are five times more likely to enter drug treatment and about three times more likely to stop using drugs than those who don’t use the programs. SSPs that provide naloxone also help decrease opioid overdose deaths. SSPs protect the public and first responders by facilitating the safe disposal of used needles and syringes.”
Additional SSP Services
Syringe services programs also help to connect those with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) with other important services, such as:
- Referral to substance use disorder treatment programs.
- Screening, care, and treatment for viral hepatitis and HIV.
- Education about overdose prevention and safer injection practices.
- Vaccinations, including those for hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
- Screening for sexually transmitted diseases.
- Abscess and wound care.
- Naloxone distribution and education.
- Referral to social, mental health, and other medical services.
Note: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the van is not working its full schedule but is at the Greenway parking lot on Oberlin Road every Thursday from 1-4pm. All services are confidential. For more information, call (530) 841-2134 or view their brochure (PDF).
Learn More About SSPs
The Center For Disease Control’s website contains more information, infographics, and resources on SSPs.