"Syringe services programs are harm reduction programs that provide a wide range of services including, but not typically limited to, the provision of new, unused hypodermic needles and syringes and other injection drug use supplies, such as cookers, tourniquets, alcohol wipes, and sharps waste disposal containers, to PWID. Comprehensive SSPs also either directly provide, or offer linkage or referrals to entities that provide: substance use disorder treatment, including medication for addiction treatment; vaccination for viral hepatitis; screening for viral hepatitis, HIV, sexually transmitted infections, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases; provision of pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV; naloxone and other overdose prevention tools; peer support services; educational materials and training in areas related to injection drug use; and referral and linkage to other services, including medical care, mental health services, and other support services.16 Contrary to popular perception, SSPs do not increase crime in areas where programs are based and do not increase illegal drug use.17 Further, “Nearly 30 years of research has shown that comprehensive SSPs are safe, effective, and cost-saving … and play an important role in reducing the transmission of viral hepatitis, HIV, and other infections.”18 Additionally, PWID who participate in an SSP 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.”19 Individuals who regularly use an SSP are also “nearly three times as likely to report a reduction in injection frequency as those who have never used an SSP.” SSPs are also an important tool in the fight against unintentional drug overdose by teaching PWID how to recognize and respond to a drug overdose, as well as by providing participants with naloxone and training on administration.21

"Although only 38 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico either explicitly or implicitly authorize SSPs through statute, regulation, or executive order, as of September 2021, there are 392 operational SSPs in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.22,23


Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association. Syringe Services Programs: Summary of State Laws. October 2021. LAPPA: Washington, DC.