Comprehensive Harm Reduction and Syringe Services Program

Comprehensive Harm Reduction and Syringe Services Program

The LENOWISCO Harm Reduction Program is part of a comprehensive public health strategy, that is evidence-based, to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and other bloodborne pathogens among injection drugs users, their families, and the larger community. Comprehensive Harm Reduction (CHR) for persons who inject drugs includes, but is not limited to, provision of sterile hypodermic needles and syringes and collection of used hypodermic needles and syringes. CHR, also called needle exchange, syringe services, or syringe access, can decrease the spread of HIV and hepatitis.

Program Goals

  • Reduce incidence of substance-related health and social harms, including transmission of blood-borne pathogens (infections) through substance abuse.
  • Provide safe disposal of used needles.
    Raise awareness about the risk of drug overdoses and associated fatalities.
  • Promote and facilitate referrals to primary health care, mental health, and substance use treatment services.
  • Reduce stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs.
  • Ensure full and equitable reach of Comprehensive Harm Reduction services and education to all who use substances.

Services Available

  • Services are anonymous
  • Exchange used syringes for clean ones
  • Safe injection supplies
  • Wound care supplies
  • Safer sex supplies
  • Risk reduction counseling
  • Overdose prevention & Naloxone (Narcan®)
  • Testing for hepatitis, HIV, STDs, and TB
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Non-Occupational Post Exposure Prophylaxis (nPEP)
  • Referrals to medical care, insurance enrollment, mental health, alcohol and drug treatment, and medication assisted treatment.
  • Referrals to other needed community programs and services.

Program Ground Rules

  1. We need to take in the same number of syringes that we give out.
  2. We need to see the number of used syringes somebody is exchanging.
  3. We have the final say on the number of syringes exchanged.
  4. We respect clients, we ask them to please respect us.
  5. We ask that participants do not engage in any drug use or drug-related activity while on or near exchange clinics.

Exchange Clinic Schedule

Location: Wise County and City of Norton Health Department, 134 Roberts AVE SW, Wise, VA 24293
Days & Hours:  Please call for more information.

Virginia’s Good Samaritan Overdose Law

The 2015 the Virginia General Assembly passed HB1500 and Senate Bill 892, which allows for safe reporting of overdoses. These bills allow a person to assert an affirmative defense against the following charges:

  • Unlawful purchase, possession, or consumption of alcohol pursuant to §4.1-305
  • Possession of a controlled substance pursuant to §18.2-250
  • Possession of marijuana pursuant to §18.2-250.1
  • Intoxication in public pursuant to §18.2-388; or
  • Possession of controlled paraphernalia pursuant to §54.1-3466

To be able to assert an affirmative defense ALL of the following criteria must be met:

  • You must in good faith seek or obtain medical attention for yourself or someone else experiencing an overdose emergency by reporting the event to a firefighter, emergency medical services personnel, a law enforcement officer, or an emergency 911 system.
  • You must remain at the scene of the overdose or an alternate location, which you, or the person who suffered the overdose, has been transported until a law enforcement official responds to the reported overdose. If no law enforcement officer responds, you must cooperate with law enforcement as indicated and described in other sections:
  • You must identify yourself to the law enforcement officer that responds;
  • If requested by law enforcement officer, you must substantially cooperate in any investigation of any criminal offense reasonably related to the controlled substance or alcohol that led to the overdose; and
  • The evidence for the prosecution of an offense was obtained as a result of the individual seeking or obtaining emergency medical attention.

An affirmative defense may NOT be asserted if you sought or obtained emergency medical attention during the execution of a search warrant or during a lawful search or arrest.

The Following Organizations Support Syringe Exchanges

  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Bar Association
  • American Medical Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Episcopal Church
  • International Red Cross-Red Crescent Society
  • Latino Commission on AIDS
  • NAACP
  • National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • National Black Police Association
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  • National Research Council
  • Office of National Drug Control Policy
  • Presbyterian Church of the United States
  • Presidential Advisory Committee on AIDS
  • Society of Christian Ethics
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • UN AIDS
  • US Conference of Mayors
  • US Public Health Service
  • US Prevention Services Task Force
  • World Bank
  • World Health Organization (WHO)