The Benefits of Syringe Service Programs

By: Kathryn Edel, LMSW, Health Educator

In January 2019, Johnson County Board of Health (JCBOH) released a position statement pertaining to Syringe Service Programs (SSPs), also referred to as needle exchange programs.  Johnson County Public Health (JCPH) supports the implementation of SSPs as an HIV/Hepatitis C (HCV) prevention strategy for People Who Inject Drugs (PWID).  Research demonstrates the effectiveness of syringe access in preventing transmission of infectious diseases and skin and soft tissue infections, while also supporting overall health and well-being of drug users through linkages to drug treatment, medical care, housing, overdose prevention, and other vital social services. 

A bill that would legalize SSPs was introduced during the 2018 legislative session.  This year, a similar bill, SF 500, was introduced.  If passed, SF 500 would allow the Iowa Department of Public Health to establish a needle exchange pilot program.  Given the public health benefits for both individual and community safety and well-being as identified in the JCBOH position statement, JCPH encourages our partners and community members to reach out to representatives to discuss how SSPs would benefit our community at large.

View the SSP Position Statement on the JCPBOH webpage at: