Is it legal to give out syringes?
Yes, however we do not give out syringes. We exchange them. Clean syringes are not considered paraphernalia in Oregon.
What does the Needle Exchange Program do?
For a comprehensive description of our program and services, see the Needle Exchange Services page.
Is there any reason to think that syringe exchange increases drug use?
No. An independent panel convened by the National Institute of Health in 1997 concluded that syringe exchange does not increase syringe-injecting behavior among current drug users and does not encourage people to begin using drugs. More recent studies confirm these findings and further suggest that syringe exchange programs are successful in attracting injectors who are at highest risk.
How big is the HIV Alliance Needle Exchange Program?
We serve over 370 clients per month, and exchange an average of 50,000 needles per month.
What is a Comprehensive Syringe Exchange Program?
A program that HIV Alliance offers for people who inject drugs. It is an important component of a comprehensive set of programs designed to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne infections among injection drug users, their families and communities.
Nationally, over ½ of all new HIV infections stem from injection drug users by sharing syringes, and the rest either from unprotected sex with an injection drug user, men who have sex with other men or transmission from an infected mother to her fetus or newborn child. Syringe exchange programs provide new, sterile syringes in a one-for-one exchange for used, contaminated syringes.
Syringe exchange programs are not just about syringes, they also help drug users get into drug treatment, access to health care and provide important risk reduction information. Other services include counseling and testing for HIV infection, hepatitis information, safer sex education and safe disposal of contaminated injection equipment.
Why are syringe exchange programs offered?
Syringe exchange is one of the most effective HIV prevention programs currently available for injection drug users who are not in treatment. Without a vaccine or a cure, prevention is the only tool we have to control the spread of HIV. HIV Alliance runs a syringe exchange program for four basic reasons:
- Syringe exchange reduces blood-borne diseases in our communities without increasing drug use. Studies have shown decreases in both the number of persons who become infected with HIV and the number of people who get hepatitis in communities that have syringe exchange programs.
- Preventing HIV infection in injection drug users also prevents HIV in women and newborn children. Many women are at risk for HIV because of their own injection drug use ore because they are sexual partners of injection drug users.
- By working with injection drug users, we can help them get into drug treatment.
- Finally, HIV Alliance safely disposes of all contaminated syringes turned in to the exchange. This reduces the number of discarded syringes on our sidewalks and in our bus stops, yards, parks, and playgrounds. Our goal is to get used syringes out of circulation as quickly as possible. The longer a syringe remains in circulation, the more opportunities there are for that syringe to pass on a blood-borne disease.
How can injection risks be reduced?
The main way a person can reduce the risk of injecting drugs, aside from abstaining, is to use a clean needle every time they inject. This removes the possibility of getting a disease by sharing a needle with another person. It also reduces the risk of getting infections associated with injecting drugs. It is also possible to reduce risk by using alcohol preps to clean the skin before injection, using clean cotton to filter impurities out of the drug, and not sharing cookers.
Questions? More information?
541-342-5088 x 114