NCHRC announces that from 2018-2019 nearly 1,000,000 syringes have been distributed to 3,500 participants across 17 counties in North Carolina. Syringe exchange programs (SEPs) provide harm reduction education and resources to people who use drugs and supports them in improving their health by reducing the risk of overdose and communicable disease. NCHRC also offers training and technical assistance to a wide variety of stakeholders about harm reduction, harm reduction programming, and policy.
SEPs improve public health in local communities by allowing program participants to safely dispose of used and discarded syringes. Data from the North Carolina Division of Public Health’s Injury and Violence Prevention Branch shows an over 200% increase in the number of syringes returned between 2017-2018 (152,783) and 2018-2019 (385,217).
In addition to the success of NCHRC-managed SEPs, data shows that 30 other SEPs operating in North Carolina distributed over 3,000,000 syringes and provided services to participants in 71 counties. This includes participants from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians/Tsalagi territory, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, Ohio, and Florida
The success of these SEPs would not be possible without the dedication of program participants. People who use drugs are the most critical stakeholders in harm reduction. Their lived experiences and expertise should shape how communities design and implement harm-reduction programming.
North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) is a statewide grassroots organization dedicated to implementing harm reduction interventions, public health strategies, drug policy transformation, and justice reform in North Carolina and throughout the American South. NCHRC engages in grassroots advocacy, resource and policy development, coalition building, and direct services for law enforcement and people impacted by drug use, incarceration, intimate adult work, overdose, gender, HIV, and hepatitis.
Correction – This release contains updated data from the North Carolina Division of Public Health Injury and Violence Prevention Branch.