Increasing sterile syringe access through syringe exchange programs and non-prescription pharmacy sales is essential to reducing syringe sharing among injection drug users and decreasing rates of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C transmission. Syringe exchange programs have also been shown to increase the safe disposal of used syringes, protecting police officers and the public from accidental exposure to blood-borne diseases.
Despite the benefits of these life-saving programs, legal and bureaucratic barriers still prevent injection drug users from accessing clean syringes. The Drug Policy Alliance has led efforts to increase syringe access in several states and is playing a key role in repealing the federal syringe funding ban. We continue to push for reforms that would greatly reduce rates of disease transmission, overdose and other risks associated with injection drug use.