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.

Urge CA Governor to Reform Drug Policy

It’s up to Governor Brown in CA to sign life-saving legislation and he needs to hear from you.

Harm Reduction Coalition: Resources

August 25, 2011
Harm Reduction Coalition

This is a collection of nationwide resources for harm reduction services, with an emphasis on syringe exchange.

Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy

June 2, 2011
Global Commission on Drug Policy

The Global Commission, whose members include Kofi Annan and four former presidents, calls the drug war a failure and advocates a paradigm shift in global drug policy. The commission's bold recommendations include encouraging governments to experiment with legalization of drugs, particularly marijuana; putting an end to drug policies being driven by ideology and politics; and directing resources away from arresting and incarcerating so many people for drug law violations.

Federal Activist Toolkit

We can make a powerful impact by urging our members of Congress to end failed drug war policies. They care what their constituents have to say.
 

Tips for Talking to Congress

Legislators appreciate hearing from their constituents, and they are elected to represent our views. Always give your legislator your name, address, and telephone number so that they know you are one of their constituents. Be sure to include this information whether you visit in person, call, or write.

When you contact your legislators, a short sentence or two about why you personally support or oppose a certain proposal is fine. 

Most importantly, always be courteous and clear when communicating with your legislators. Remember, legislators are people, too!

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (www.aidslaw.ca) promotes the human rights of people living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, in Canada and internationally, through research, legal and policy analysis, education, and community mobilization. The Legal Network is Canada's leading advocacy organization working on the legal and human rights issues raised by HIV/AIDS.

HIV Prevention Justice Alliance

The HIV Prevention Justice Alliance is a national network of over 70 groups building a unified, effective movement for HIV prevention in the United States.

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