Syringe Access

Injection drug use is associated with a high risk of infection by blood-borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C, but sterile syringe access programs help lower these risks by limiting syringe sharing and providing safe disposal options. 
 
These programs also provide people who inject drugs with referrals to drug treatment, detoxification, social services, and primary health care.
 
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.
 
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. 
 
Despite the benefits of these life-saving programs, legal and bureaucratic barriers still prevent injection drug users from accessing clean syringes. 

Our Priorities

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is working to ensure wider access to sterile syringes throughout the country. We support removing syringes from the criminal code by ending policies that criminalize syringe possession and limit sterile syringe distribution.
 
DPA has played an instrumental role in the struggle to eliminate the federal ban on syringe access funding. We have led successful efforts to launch syringe exchange programs and facilities in several states, most recently in New Jersey.
 
DPA backs the non-prescription, over-the-counter sale of syringes, which is now permitted in all but two U.S. states. We support state efforts to exempt syringes from paraphernalia laws and broaden the legal definition of medical necessity as it relates to syringe access. 
 
We also favor allowing doctors to prescribe syringes to their patients, a practice few states currently permit.

Governor Christie Directs Commissioner of Health to Invest $200,000 in New Jersey Syringe Access Programs

Advocates Applaud Governor Christie’s $200,000 Funding Commitment to New Jersey’s Syringe Access Programs

Life Saving Syringe Access Programs Able to Keep Doors Open Thanks to Governor Christie

Trenton — Today, Governor Christie signed legislation that will make permanent the sterile syringe access programs in New Jersey that were originally created as demonstration programs in 2006 under the Blood-Borne Disease Harm Reduction Act. Governor Christie also directed the Commissioner of Health to invest $200,000 in the existing syringe access programs.

Contact:

Tommy McDonald 510-679-2311
Roseanne Scotti 609-610-8243

New Jersey Syringe Access Programs Launch GoFundMe Page to Raise Money After Governor Christie Vetoes Funding

Programs In Desperate Need As Funding Runs Out

Advocates Say Halt of Services Will Result in More HIV and Hepatitis C Infections and People Not Being Connected to Needed Drug Treatment and Social Services

Trenton—New Jersey’s Syringe Access Programs are running out of money and supplies needed to serve clients. The programs operate in five cities, Atlantic City, Camden, Jersey City, Newark and Paterson.  The Paterson program had to suspend operations two months ago when it ran out of supplies and the Camden program will run out of supplies by the end of summer.

Contact:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Roseanne Scotti 609-610-8243

Maryland GOP Governor Larry Hogan Signs Syringe Access Expansion Legislation

Syringe Access Proven to Reduce HIV and other infectious diseases

Harm Reduction Goes Mainstream: Maryland joins Florida, Kentucky, Indiana and Republican-Led Congress in Expanding Syringe Access

Today, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed the Opioid-Associated Disease Prevention and Outreach Act, after it passed the Maryland General Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support. The legislation, also referred to as the Syringe Services Programs Bill, will allow thousands of Maryland residents to access life-saving sterile syringe exchange programs.

Contact:

Kaitlyn Boecker 402-670-3773
Tony Newman: 646-335-5384

Florida Governor Rick Scott Signs Syringe Access Legislation

New Law Will Create State's First Syringe Access Programs

Harm Reduction Gone Mainstream: Florida Follows in Steps of Kentucky, Indiana and Republican-Led Congress in Passing Syringe Access Reforms

Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the IDEA Act (“Miami-Dade Infectious Disease Elimination Act”), after it passed the Florida House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Florida leads the nation in new HIV cases, while Miami-Dade and neighboring Broward are #1 and #2 in the nation, respectively, for the rate of new HIV infections per 100,000 residents.

Contact:

Ben Pollara (305) 989-4901
Tony Newman (646) 335-5384

Syringe Access Legislation Passes Florida Legislature, Heads to Governor for Signature

Florida House Passes IDEA Bill, Creating First Syringe Exchange Pilot in State; IDEA Approved in Senate Last Week

Drug Policy Alliance, Harm Reduction Advocates Applaud Legislature, Urge Gov. Scott to Sign into Law

(Washington, D.C.) – With overwhelming bipartisan support, today the Florida House passed SB 242, also known as IDEA (“Miami-Dade Infectious Disease Elimination Act”). SB 242 had passed the Senate in a 37-2 vote last week, and Rep. Katie Edwards, House sponsor of companion bill, HB 81, brought the Senate version to the floor for its successful vote today.

Florida leads the nation in new HIV cases, while Miami-Dade and neighboring Broward are #1 and #2 in the nation, respectively, for the rate of new HIV infections per 100,000 residents.

Contact:

Ben Pollara 305-989-4901
Tony Newman 646-335-5384

Florida: Urgent Syringe Access Reform Unanimously Passes Key Committee Vote, Now Headed to Floor Vote in State House

Drug Policy Alliance Applauds Effort to Establish Florida's First Syringe Access Program, as State Comes to Grips With Highest Number of New HIV Cases in U.S.

DPA and Harm Reduction Advocates Urge Florida House of Representatives to Pass Law

Today, the Health and Human Services Committee (“HHS”) of the Florida House of Representatives unanimously passed HB 81, also known as IDEA (“Miami-Dade Infectious Disease Elimination Act”). HHS was the bill’s final committee of reference in the House and now moves to the chamber’s floor for a vote of the full Florida House. Its Senate companion, SB 242, is likewise awaiting a floor vote in that chamber.

Contact:

Ben Pollara (305) 989-4901
Tony Newman (646) 335-5384

Congress Adopts Significant Drug Policy Reforms in New Spending Bill

Bill Stops Feds from Blocking Medical Marijuana Legalization and Partially Lifts Federal Ban on Funding for Syringe Access Programs to Prevent HIV/AIDS

President Obama Expected to Sign Bill

Congress passed a must-pass spending bill this morning that includes language that stops the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice from spending money to block the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. The amendment was passed last year on a temporary basis and must be renewed this year.

Contact:

Bill Piper (202) 669-6430
Michael Collins (404) 539-6437

Congress Set to Pass Significant Drug Policy Reforms in New Spending Bill

Bill Would Stop Feds from Blocking Medical Marijuana Legalization and Would Partially Lift Federal Ban on Funding for Syringe Access Programs to Prevent HIV/AIDS

President Obama Expected to Sign Bill

Congress is set to vote on a must-pass spending bill introduced last night that includes language that stops the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice from spending money to block the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. The amendment was passed last year on a temporary basis and must be renewed this year.

Contact:

Bill Piper (202) 669-6430
Michael Collins (404) 539-6437

Harm Reduction and Human Rights: Strategies on Expanding Harm Reduction Through Human Rights

May 20, 2015

Watch the recording now!

Harm reduction services and syringe exchange are more than just a prevention strategy. Access to these vital services enables HIV testing, linkage to care and other critical health/social services, as well as affirming the human rights and dignity of people who use drugs.

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