Published On: June 16th, 2021|350 words|1.2 min read|
Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) are historically community-based harm reduction programs. They provide preventive and treatment services, including providing sterile syringes to people who inject drugs.
VA can provide Veterans using SSPs with substance use treatment and mental health services. SSPs can also provide preventative services like vaccinations, naloxone to prevent overdose, and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a medication that prevents HIV.
SSPs were introduced in the 1980s to reduce human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission among people who inject drugs. It has since become an internationally recognized harm reduction practice standard.
A Naloxone kit is free to VA patients who use or inject drugs.
Help Veterans get sterile supplies they need
VA is recommending that medical centers either develop VA SSPs locally and/or refer Veterans to community partners for these services. These critical services will help Veterans get the sterile supplies they need to prevent infections like HIV, viral hepatitis, and endocarditis.
In some areas, however, state, county or local law may restrict syringe services.
If you inject drugs, talk to your VA provider about safer injection practices, including accessing sterile syringes.